SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — More than half of Utah's public school teachers who started work in 2008 left the profession less than a decade later, according to a recent report by The University of Utah.
The Deseret News reported (http://bit.ly/2njVtNc ) Monday that Utah's turnover rate is high compared to the national average.
The report released in January polled about 2,700 teachers, and discovered that younger teachers had a higher turnover rate compared to their older colleagues, with 73 percent of teachers 25 years and younger departing by 2015.
Teachers ages 31-39 appeared to leave the profession at the lowest rate, with 41 percent of them departing by 2015.
It was unclear why the turnover rate in Utah has been so high.
"We need to begin collecting and analyzing data about why people stay and leave, not just leave," said Andrea Rorrer, director of the university's public policy center.
A survey by the National Center for Educational Statistics reported Utah teachers during the 2012 school year left the profession for a variety of reasons, including salary and benefits and career decisions.
In the recently completed legislative session, Utah lawmakers approved a variety of bills aimed at improving public schools, including incentives for teachers working on Indian reservations and in high-poverty districts.
Lawmakers also passed a plan requiring the state to take on the costs of teacher license fees and background checks. They were previously paid for by the teachers.
More changes are needed to convince public school teachers to stick with their jobs, said Heidi Matthews, president of the Utah Education Association, which represents 18,000 of the state's educators and other school personnel.
"It's a piece of the puzzle," Matthews said. "It certainly wouldn't be the tipping point for a teacher deciding to enter the classroom or not, but they all add up."
Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com