The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that traditionally, teachers in Tennessee have entered the profession in their early 20's and have stayed for 25 years or longer. But now, many teachers in the state are leaving the profession after only a few years, with some estimates saying as many as half leave in the first five years.
Some reasons could be stricter teacher licensing regulations; educators entering the profession later in life; and educators seeing teaching not as a career but as a temporary job.
Union officials say it’s because of state policy changes, like cutting collective bargaining rights, raising qualifications for teacher tenure and linking student test scores to teacher evaluations.
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman has put forward a plan to unlink teacher pay from teacher education and years of experience, saying that in Tennessee and across the nation, years of experience and degrees earned don’t correlate with teacher success.
Nationally, there are more teachers with one year of experience than any other level of experience.