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Home Publications Projections of California teacher retirements: A county and regional perspective

Projections of California teacher retirements: A county and regional perspective

by Anthony Fong, Reino Makkonen and Karina Jaquet

This report projects California teacher retirements at the state and county levels for 2014/15-2023/24, updating a previously published report that projected California teacher retirements for 2006/07-2015/16. The current study finds that 25 percent of California teachers who were teaching in 2013/14 are projected to retire over 2014/15-2023/24. The proportion projected to retire varies greatly across counties, from 19 percent in Sutter County to 61 percent in Sierra County. This suggests that counties will confront very different staffing situations over the 10-year period because of projected retirements. Rural counties that are projected to have higher retirement rates tend to lie along the state's northern coast and near the state's northern and eastern borders; lower retirement rates are projected in and around metropolitan areas (such as San Francisco, Sacramento, Orange County/Los Angeles, and Fresno). This report also projects teacher retirements in math, science, English language arts, history, special education, and elementary school. The range of projected retirement rates statewide in these fields is 22.5-26 percent over 2014/15-2023/24, again, with wide variation across counties. Data on actual retirements indicate that White and Fong's (2008) projections for 2006/07-2013/14 underestimated the number of teachers across California who would retire by 11 percent. With prior research showing that graduates of teacher preparation programs tend to prefer living close to their hometown (Reininger, 2012), coupled with a projected statewide shortage of college-educated adults through at least 2025, the findings of this report suggest that careful local workforce planning will be essential, particularly in counties projected to experience high teacher retirement rates. For example, county offices of education and school districts in counties with high projected retirement rates might collaborate with local teacher credential programs to determine whether the supply of teachers in the region will be sufficient to replace the teachers projected to retire. Ultimately, local and state education leaders may need to undertake a more complete analysis of all teacher labor market variables--including pre-retirement attrition--to predict whether there will be enough teachers to meet future needs. If the prediction is that there will not be enough teachers to meet future needs, local and state education leaders might consider policies to increase teacher supply, such as alternative certification options, signing bonuses, or loan forgiveness for student teachers. The following are appended: (1) Supplemental data tables; and (2) Data and methods.

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