Why are Utah teachers leaving their jobs at such a rate?

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  • Fan Base Salt Lake City, UT
    March 31, 2017 2:29 p.m.

    This report does not square with what I see in the public schools my children have attended. The teacher pool is very stable. A teacher confided that she was very happy to be teaching in the public high school where she could get tenured pretty quickly and not have to worry about finding a new job ever. Yes, teaching is hard and yes is low paid but there are other advantages over private sector positions such as job stability, flexibility and job satisfaction if you know where to find it. Why else are there so many applicants for each open position?

  • teacherjohn St George, UT
    March 18, 2017 4:56 p.m.

    It is obvious why teachers are leaving the profession. There is a severe problem in education. Teachers go to school on an average of 6-8 years. They are paid the lowest in the nation. At one time the benefit package was really good. They had good insurance and a good retirement package. The state legislature has given moderate benefits over that last few years, but the money has not ended up in teachers pockets. School Districts have claimed insurance costs have taken all the money but at the same time, administrators have received raises at alarming levels. The size of district offices have become so large that people think public ed is wasting tons of money which is true. Instead of teachers retiring at 30 years and new lower paying teachers taking their place, the teachers who are stuck are teaching 33-38 years at high salaries.
    Not very much common sense going on. School boards need to use some common sense when allowing administrators to negotiate separately from teachers. If they were negotiating for the same things, common sense would be used.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    March 18, 2017 11:38 a.m.


    "If teachers are demanding better pay and respect maybe they need re-evaluate themselves first. Real teaching is not 'babysitting', and if that's how it feels to them, then they shouldn't be teaching."

    Like I said, most teachers are not jerks, although some may be. You seem to understand very little just how much crap teachers, particularly middle school teachers, put up with from students on a daily basis. As far as "real teaching" goes, teachers sometimes don't get around to it because sometimes students act in a way that prevents real teaching from happening. When this bad behavior and complete lack of respect is so prevalent that real teaching is hard to accomplish (which unfortunately does happen in some areas of the state), teaching ends up pretty much being babysitting, and so those teachers quit.

    I've been teaching middle school for several years now, and I plan to take a break if not quit for good this year. I'm not the only one at my school doing this either. A 21-year veteran nearly quit last year as well. Some kids are well behaved, but many are not, and the number and severity is growing. That's a major reason for this shortage.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    March 18, 2017 11:30 a.m.


    "I recently completed a quality survey for my child's middle school and I gave most teachers and administrators the lowest level of approval possible."

    Thanks for proving everyone's point.

    "People complain that students are "brats", but my experience has been the opposite. It's the teachers and administrators that are the brats, more so than the students."

    Just out of curiosity, is this from your own observation or is this hearsay from a middle school student?

    "My child's math teachers said it was 'not her job' to show her how to do math problems, while she sat there eating chips. Why is she there? . . . Another teacher was smug, sarcastic and rude after my child approached him after class to sign a paper, he dusted her off and couldn't be bothered."

    My guess is there's probably more to the story than that, but I do know that some teachers can be rude. Unfortunately the way the system works often terrible teachers keep on teaching for years while good ones move on to other jobs.


  • James E Tooele, UT
    March 18, 2017 11:14 a.m.

    First off, my wife has taught in Utah for almost ten years. Watching how public schools work has been enlightening and an interesting contrast to my job here in the real world.

    I think we can all acknowledge the traditional model of education has failed. We see this in business all the time. Efficiency drops as costs rise, management chasing results by throwing money at every problem. Morale drops thru the floor and customers flee. Innovation dries up, processes ossify and the entire organization becomes moribund. If this was a business I'd be looking for it to declare bankruptcy soon. But it's a gov't org, so instead they'll hide their failure behind ever-increasing tax demands.

    And it's not a teacher problem, it's a systemic problem. The whole thing needs an overhaul. And not just one of their perennial rearrangement of the deck chairs. These expensive and ineffectual changes just confuse their customers and staff.

    And PS: I didn't see any data about the under 30's teachers having babies as a reason they leave the profession. We like to do that here in Utah.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    March 17, 2017 6:59 p.m.

    @ Christmas

    Why is your daughter eating chips during class when she should be doing her math problems? I don't blame the teacher for being upset. Teach your daughter to show some respect. Eat food during lunch not during class.

  • PikovAndropov Sandy, UT
    March 16, 2017 9:29 p.m.

    The toughest thing about being a teacher is...everything. If you don't absolutely love what you are doing and why and those for whom you are doing it, you won't stay. I am wondering if the funds generated by the small fraction of a percent increase in taxes will go to teacher pay. I wonder if the increase in WPU will go to teacher pay. Oh, and just a thought, when will the teacher's union realize that not all teachers should be paid the same. If science and special ed are the highest in demand, then maybe their salaries should reflect that. Just saying. I know it's harsh to say one teacher is worth more than another, but don't we pay members of other professions more or less determined in part by their value in the marketplace? One more thing, why should all teachers get paid the same when not all administrators do? Principals make more if they are at a high school than a middle school, and they are paid more than at elementary schools. Same for assistants. Just a thought.

  • trallen Layton, UT
    March 16, 2017 6:35 p.m.

    I have been a teacher in Utah for 15 years and, for the first time, I am considering a career change. I intended to retire here, but things have changed so much that I feel like a teaching career is no longer a positive place to be. Many of my colleagues feel the same.
    I think there are two major frustrations that are causing teachers, like myself, to consider changing careers. First, I think teaching has become a more negative, and, in the hope of raising performance and saving money, many people are trying to micro-manage teachers.
    In schools, the blame game in school is very rampant. Most teacher, like myself, won't ask for help with behavior, because the assumption is that if you have behavior problems you must be doing something wrong.
    Another problem is micromanagement of teachers. This goes from counting materials to almost telling teachers what to say and when to say it. We are often told, "Do you realize you have printed 3,345 copies this year," or, "According to the master schedule you should have been teaching math at 2:00 instead of writing." If we want to attract and retain teachers we need to treat them as professionals and remove obstacles in their way.

  • Coach P Provo, UT
    March 15, 2017 6:27 p.m.


    Great post.

    However, 36 would be on the small size for me though it is high and for elementary teachers an obscene total, so if you taught in elementary, that is truly awful and you have my sympathies. In my career I've had close to 240 students in six classes on a number of occasions as a total class load and when my prep was bought over 280 students. Typically I expect to have well over 200 students or on the average 38-40 per class.

    I have to say that large classes are not necessarily new for my in my teaching career. When I taught at a Salt Lake District high school I even had two classes over 50 and this was in the early 1990's. So this phenomenon isn't exactly new nor unique to any school district. But I think the amount of paperwork and micromanaging is much worse now and so teaching 240 now vs. back then is worse because there's just a lot more demands on teachers other than just teaching your students.

  • Christmas South Jordan, UT
    March 15, 2017 5:47 p.m.

    I recently completed a quality survey for my child's middle school and I gave most teachers and administrators the lowest level of approval possible.

    People complain that students are "brats", but my experience has been the opposite. It's the teachers and administrators that are the brats, more so than the students.

    I've had several recent concerns (trying to locate a library book and attempting to get a vacation slip for my child due to surgery) and was treated rudely, the office administrators were dismissive, and couldn't be bothered while they sat there staring at their computer acting like they didn't want to be there.

    My child's math teachers said it was" not her job" to show her how to do math problems, while she sat there eating chips. Why is she there?

    Another teacher was smug, sarcastic and rude after my child approached him after class to sign a paper, he dusted her off and couldn't be bothered.

    If teachers are demanding better pay and respect maybe they need re-evaluate themselves first. Real teaching is not "babysitting", and if that's how it feels to them, then they shouldn't be teaching.

  • John K Carmichael, CA
    March 15, 2017 7:48 a.m.

    My friend left after the first year when he realized what brats kids are these days.

  • IceCreamGhost Sandy, UT
    March 15, 2017 6:46 a.m.

    @Iammad from Roosevelt, the ability to shift your years to other districts is a great idea.

    I remember starting out as a teacher and thinking that I should really think hard about my first job because if I wanted to change districts later it could really screw up my salary.

    I was a teacher and here are my reasons for leaving:
    1. Pay - i could make more with less effort elsewhere
    2. Feeling unvalued by society - There was an article once that talked about how teachers were coming out of "the bottom of the barrel" in University and as a top student that really was offensive.
    3. Class Sizes - feeling like I had to achieve more with more kids in the classroom (my record was 36, which is an insane number of kids)

    Talk to any teacher, they will tell you. They do an important work for society and are treated like garbage.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    March 14, 2017 11:10 p.m.

    One of our friend's daughters works for DCFS and sounds like from listening to her they can't hang on to workers. Another friend's daughter teaches school and is going back to school to work in another profession over the pay and politics.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    March 14, 2017 8:47 p.m.

    I make more money driving a UTA bus than I would do teaching and I have excellent benefits. Doing away with the state pension plan was a disaster that I blame directly on Dan Liljenquist. It isn't just teachers that are effected. I graduated from Weber State in criminal justice/law enforcement in the early eighties. Over a thousand people showed up at SLCC to test for forty open positions with SL County. Today law enforcement is having a hard time finding qualified applicants. The real solution is one that we as a state don't to want address. The problem is the state income tax system that provides tax exemptions for children. This shifts the tax burden to single adults, childless couples and retirees. I am not against large families. I am for a cap on dependents. You should be allowed two with exceptions for adopted and special needs children. I am not saying this would solve all the funding problems. It certainly would help.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    March 14, 2017 6:53 p.m.

    The salary schedule and changing districts is a legitimate issue. If teachers could stay on the same pay scale if they changed districts, it would create a better environment for our teachers and ultimately our schools and students. They would actually have to better themselves to keep teachers. It would make districts compete a bit.

    Husker1: I have to wonder if students (and their parents) would be angry if they invested time to do packets and make up classes in some vain only to have others have their failing grades cleared because they meet the magic percentage of 60%. I know if my child say did fail and class and did the work to actually earn the credit and another student never took that initiative and all of sudden just passes the class retroactively, I would be upset. Is there a fairness issue I'm missing? Were teachers involved with this decision or was it just thrown on them by the school board and district administration? Back in the old days, I believe most teachers could make their own grading scales based on their professional judgment. But did some posters say something about micro-managing?

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    March 14, 2017 6:17 p.m.

    As a teacher, I can also add some insight to this.

    The pay is part of it, but in my opinion not the biggest reason. After all, it's not exactly a secret that teachers don't have a very high salary. Teachers go into teaching knowing they're not going to be breaking $50k anytime soon.

    Why do they leave teaching after starting down that path, then? Simple: it is because there are so many obstacles in the way that prevent them from actually teaching. Non-instructional stuff takes up a lot of the time. The heavy emphasis on math limits exposure in other subjects, and in some cases leads to full-time positions becoming part-time positions (many schools are going to 10-class schedules, and so where before 6 classes was enough for full-time, you now need 8, so a school going to that schedule may find it easier to consolidate the 6 down to 4 and make the position half-time than to increase to 8 to remain full-time). There are also the certifications, evaluations, licensing, and all that to worry about.

    In addition to all that, behavior is abhorrent, particularly in middle school. That's perhaps the biggest obstacle.

  • Miss Bay Hyrum, UT
    March 14, 2017 3:38 p.m.

    The only people who should be commenting on why teachers in Utah leave the profession should be people who have been teachers in Utah. If you have not been, you are merely speculating and really have no idea of the issues involved.

  • wtfhinutah SOUTH SALT LAKE, UT
    March 14, 2017 2:59 p.m.

    Let's see:

    - Bratty kids, a lot of them (being Utah and all)
    - Inability to dole out any discipline
    -Even worse Parents
    - Low Pay
    - A Legislature and Governor that treats them like crap

    And spare me the '3 months off every year' argument. They deserve it after dealing with all the brats! All this from only reading the 'Title', I'm going to back and read the article now.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 14, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    As a teacher in the state of Utah for the last 34 years I think I have some insight into this situation. When I started many women taught a few years and left to raise a family. Today, not so much. In my school this year three women went out on maternity leave all three came back. It happens but most young people today can't survive on one income.

    To say that it is all about salary is not correct either. Salary is a big part of it, as are declining benefits. So are growing class sizes. In 1984 I had about 18-20 reasonable well behaved students per class. Today I have 35+ much less well behaved students. When I started teaching I was evaluated regularly, today I am micromanaged. When I started teaching I could come in at 7:00 AM and go home at 5:00-5:30 and be done. Today I am never done. When I first started good paying summer jobs were plentiful, today, not so much. 30 years ago I checked out at the end of May, I came back at the beginning of August. Now I spend 2-3 weeks uncompensated time in the summer at conferences or meeting with department.

    Ranking them depends on the individual but for most of the teacher leaving those all factor in.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    March 14, 2017 2:47 p.m.

    They don't speak Spanish.

  • Bigger Bubba Herriman, UT
    March 14, 2017 2:39 p.m.

    Here's the answer to why so many teachers in Utah do not last more than 5 years. This research study was done on teachers in the Jordan School district. It is published in the AJER.

    Google search: "Phenomenological Insight on Being Hindered From Fulfilling One’s Primary Responsibility to Educate Students"

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 14, 2017 2:32 p.m.

    @ Mick 00-

    "Btw, this article is not about you or your theories of climate change."

    I have not mentioned the words "climate change" anywhere on this thread.

    That's the problem. An innocuous class about studying the climate and you automatically think it's about climate change. We did a lot of fun things in that class. No one was damaged from it.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 14, 2017 2:09 p.m.

    "73% quit? Holy cow this is a disaster. If this happened in engineering the tech industry with go bust....so would the medical field. "
    "Public education is collapsing and that is why Trump appointed the person he did to re-think the direction of eduction altogether."

    This stat is for Utah... which is a GOP run state with GOP local government across most of the state, and GOP slanted school boards, while education is largely managed at the local and state levels rather than the federal level... but sure, let's blame the Dems.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 14, 2017 1:41 p.m.

    To "Bob K" go to the KSL web site, and read the comments there. The list of reasons why teachers leave is accurate according to the teachers that have responded there.

    Pay is NOT one of the primary factors driving teachers out of the classroom.

    Utah is not unique in having teachers quit to have children. What is unique is the number of teachers that quit to raise their own children.

  • Spalding55 Placentia, CA
    March 14, 2017 1:37 p.m.

    Being a recently retired educator of 37 years, I can say that it is a tragedy that so many leave the field after a few years. It takes years to develop a truly outstanding teacher. I have seen other studies that say lack of support is a primary reason for teachers leaving. Unfortunately things haven't changed greatly since I started where I was given the keys to my class and was told "good luck, you'll need it". New teachers are overwhelmed by large classroom size, testing mandates, full inclusion, classroom management, irate parents etc. Programs to support new teachers are started, and then are the first item on the budgetary chopping block.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    March 14, 2017 1:27 p.m.

    @Open Minded
    I see the problem. Well, a couple actually.

    Who takes 8 years for a Master's?
    Answer: Professional students.

    Why is Utah looking for first year teachers with a Master's in the first place?
    Answer: They aren't.

    This hype on steroids isn't helpful. We don't need your Patty Murray math here.

  • Rebel ,
    March 14, 2017 12:53 p.m.

    Fair salaries for the work perform has never been the problem for high turnover. Get the Federal Government out of our lives and retention would be better among the Good Teachers. Did a study in another state a few years back of a lowest paid and highest paid districts and not a single teacher said anything about pay. It came from spouse transfers, getting back to their home states,disciplinary problems, the younger teachers entering the field deciding it was not what they wanted, leaving the olderteachers behind dreaming about the benefit of paid retirement.
    Spanish Fork

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    March 14, 2017 12:44 p.m.

    I'm going to quote a comment that I think is typical of the Utah ostrich syndrome:
    I call it that because nothing about Utah is ever not the best store ever wrong or ever needs improving to these folks.
    You can list pay as the last reason because it's something that the teacher knew in advance and hoped would work out where is the other stuff no matter how bad you hear about it beforehand is worse.
    Another ostrich says it's because of Utah's unique culture where women quit working to have children.

    Note that the other items on the list are things that you could forgive if you got paid well

    "All right, if you want to see why teachers are leaving, here are the top reasons:

    1. They leave because they have a baby and want to care for it.
    2. The kids they teach are horrible
    3. The Parents of the kids are horrible
    4. Government regulations.
    5. Mandated testing
    6. It is impossible to get a high performance evaluation.
    7. Pay."

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 14, 2017 12:36 p.m.

    Only goes to show that Utah really is an Anti-Education, Anti-Environment, Anti-Science - State.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 14, 2017 12:27 p.m.

    Let's see....

    8 years of college,
    A Master's Degree,
    $60K in debt,

    and the state of Utah pays them $16.75 an hour.

    Article Circle starts @ $12 an hour.
    no degree,
    no college,
    no debt.

    Face it --
    The Utah State legislature values a Rodeo burger and Fries more than our children's education.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:21 p.m.


    Great post!! Don't forget the HUGE emphasis on graduation rates. That means everything at the high school level. It's so important that one district just announced they are retroactively changing their grading standard, thus giving thousands of students credit for classes they failed so they can hand out more diplomas.

    Keep an eye on Provo School District, folks. Their graduation rate is about to take an enormous jump because they have turned into a diploma mill.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:19 p.m.

    As long as...

    Stack um deep and teach um cheap...

    Is the re-Publican operational definition of what the teachers are faced with each year...

    Look for the turnover rate to remain high.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:10 p.m.

    All right, if you want to see why teachers are leaving, here are the top reasons:

    1. They leave because they have a baby and want to care for it.
    2. The kids they teach are horrible
    3. The Parents of the kids are horrible
    4. Government regulations.
    5. Mandated testing
    6. It is impossible to get a high performance evaluation.
    7. Pay.

    You see, pay isn't the top reason to quit. Much of the reason why teachers quit has more to do with the system and the parents than the actual pay.

    How many teacher quit that work in Private schools? Think about it, because private schools typically pay less than public schools and have fewer benefits.

    To "Utah Girl Chronicles" you could still teach class in "Climate Studies", if you kept it non-biased and didn't just repeat the propaganda in the IPCC. If you used actual scientific studies and showed that nobody really understands climate change, it would be totally accepted. However, if you taught the class from the standpoint of CO2 is the problem with everything in the climate, you will be shut down. You see, we don't want our kids taught propaganda, we want them taught truth.

  • itswhatithink West Jordan, UT
    March 14, 2017 11:47 a.m.

    What would be good for comparison is how many in other fields of study (who have graduated) transition to new positions or careers during the same time period. The headline makes this sound like an epidemic but data doesn't prove that.

    Conduct a study for 8 years for all graduates - in all fields. Follow all of them and their career transitions, marriage/famly interruptions, and show that there is not the same percentage of change. I think you will find that many who graduate find that their field of study didn't meet their expectations. Many doctors, lawyers, police officers, communications, english, physical education, engineers move from job to job and many move out of state for their spouse/partners education or career choices.

    This data is in a vacuum so it has little value.

  • TX BYU Fan Heber City, UT
    March 14, 2017 11:28 a.m.

    The reasons are clear and multi-faceted.

    As has been stated, we have a unique culture in Utah where many young mothers stay at home once they start having children. While this happens in all states, the percentage is going to be higher here in Utah.

    Low pay with overloaded classrooms. The amount of work required vs the pay is way off here in Utah. Each teacher has way too many students. Young teachers most likely come into the classroom thinking they can handle it. But when they find out they have to work at home for hours after teaching all day, they determine they aren't paid enough to the amount of work required. They must also participate in continuing education and workshops during the summer.

    Many teachers here graduate without a Master's Degree. I don't know if all school districts require Master's to get into the higher pay tiers, but I know many teachers decide if they aren't going to get a raise without going back to school, they simply decide to move on. A Master's Degree does not guarantee teacher success. The rule capping the pay for teachers without a Master's Degree is causing experienced teachers to leave.

    The list continues, but I don't have room.

  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    March 14, 2017 11:22 a.m.

    After seeing my spouse leave the teaching profession here in Utah I think I have a pretty good idea.

    The problem was not the kids or the parents.

    The problem was low pay, too many students per class with little to no help. Every year spending $300-$500 on supplies. No support from administrators only criticism. No retirement.

    Charter schools - tried that too. Lower pay, higher expectations, less support, and little to no benefits. My spouse left the profession and started making real money, really quickly. Utah lags behind in education. Keep in touch with friends that leave the state and they will tell you.

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    March 14, 2017 11:09 a.m.

    I don't think anyone who has posted so far is actually one of the thousands who have left. So we're all guessing.

    I hope the survey brings some insight.

    But having a wife who did her student teaching in language arts and then said to heck with that (50-60 hour weeks and $27k pay) and selected a technical writing job for more than twice the amount, my guesses are:

    1. Pay

    2. Set up for failure (see the McKinsey report "How the world's best-performing school systems come out on top)

    3. New mom's wanting to be in the home

  • Mick , 00
    March 14, 2017 11:06 a.m.

    Utah girl?

    Do not assume I don't understand or believe in climate change. Al Gore's theories did not come to pass. Not even close. Did you see the movie? Did you teach the movie?

    Btw, this article is not about you or your theories of climate change.

  • Go2 Utah, UT
    March 14, 2017 10:29 a.m.

    After a 15 year hiatus I decided to return to teaching, a profession I love and worked successfully in for 18 years. What I now see in Utah education is a job void of joyous, 'teachable' moments.
    Now there are district mandates on teaching materials used; a HUGE focus on test scores instead of learning; district regimens of how you teach - right down to the very verbiage you must use! ; trying to teach/help children who don't speak English, have autism, learning disabilities, behavioral issues along with the other 28 students in the classroom with very little support; disengaged parents; children with no boundaries; increasing demands from districts on worthless inservice classes; outdated technology and/or tech but no support . . .
    all this and still working as our own 'secretaries' and 'custodians' .

    With taxes/SS/insurance fees I'd bring home $18 an hour. Is it any wonder we leave?

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    March 14, 2017 10:12 a.m.

    If I were grading these studies I would give them a D+ and tell them to do them over. They are a nice first draft, but fail to answer the questions.

    And these are from educators? They should be ashamed of themselves. All this hand-wringing about teacher pay, class size, assignments...and we get this?

    Let's get some definitive answers about where they went. Did they leave to go raise a family? I would think that once hubby graduated and landed a job, she would want to stay at home and have children.

    Or did they decide that teaching science wasn't worth the degree they earned so they are now working for a drug company at three times the pay?

    Or maybe the health insurance was inadequate for their family situation and they left teaching.

    Maybe they just don't have the disposition to handle the daily dose of brats today. Not everyone is cut out to teach Primary, let alone do it five days a week.

    These studies are a road map of questions, but not answers.

  • iammad ROOSEVELT, UT
    March 14, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    One incentive should be discussed seriously by school districts and the boards that serve them. Paying transfer teachers their salary according to the years of experience. Education is the only profession I know that does not do this. I am in my 23rd year of teaching, and if I accepted a new position in another school district I would also have to accept a 15 to 20 thousand dollar pay cut in my yearly salary.
    School districts should be competing for the best teachers, and the best way to attract them is to pay them the salary they are worth. But alas, it is more cost effective to hire right out of college, yet more than half are leaving the teaching profession. Too bad.
    If I had understood this in college or as a new teacher, I would never have entered the profession.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    March 14, 2017 9:40 a.m.

    (Taking a page out of the playbook for dealing with climate change)

    It may very well be that Utah has a problem with teacher turnover. But it's very premature to assign any specific reason for the problem.

    The best course of action is patience, and further study.

    Any action taken before we know with complete certainty why - or really *if* - a problem exists would be a rash and potentially reckless decision that would adversely impact Utah tax payers.

    However, if anyone suggests the solution is to transfer state funds to private schools or charter school management corporations, this idea deserves a special session of the Legislature and fast-track approval.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 14, 2017 9:21 a.m.

    "everything Democrats do is a disaster. "

    Except that we're in Utah, and last time I checked, our legislature was almost completely stacked with Republicans.


    I'm so glad I retired before the avalanche of testing buried us.
    I'm glad I retired before kids came to school loaded with all kinds of electronic distractions.
    I'm glad I retired after having taught only in rural schools where kids are completely different critters than city kids.
    I'm glad I retired before Dan Lilenquist and his buddies robbed teacher of retirement.

    I watch what is happening now and wonder how anyone has the courage to become a teacher.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 14, 2017 8:55 a.m.

    It's not just money paid to teachers, it is also about job satisfation in being able to "teach kids."
    Policies that demand special needs kids be int eh same classroom with advanced students do not help either end of the spectrum, so "teaching to the middle" in such situations only exacerbates the discipline problems as the bored or flailing students get left out. Get back to "tracks" where students are grouped by ability.

    Demand discipline and support teachers who enforce it, despite a few parents who blindly insist their little angels do no wrong.

    Support home schooling and charter schools as options for actually providing education instead of "seat time."

    Praise those teachers who leave after a few years to raise their own families, a large part of the turnover which is unsurprising in Utah even if more common here than other states.

    Money alone is not the answer, and focus must be on classroom teacher support, not the bloated administrative bureaucracies or union demands.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 14, 2017 8:30 a.m.

    @ Mick -00

    "Did you have to stop teaching because all of Al Gores "facts" didn't actually come to pass?"

    There are people who believe the earth is flat.

    There are people who believe dinosaurs roamed around in the 1800's.

    There are people who believe the Revolutionary War started because the British had a blockade around the Boston airport.

    Thank you for proving my point.

  • goodnight-goodluck S.L.C., UT
    March 14, 2017 8:28 a.m.

    The law of unintended or perhaps intended consequences, low pay, constant criticism from the legislative body, the doing away in 2008 of the defined benefit retirement plan. Teachers are in much the same boat as law enforcement officers. In that they have a most difficult job and those who set the salaries seem to view them as whining leeches. Every year the legislature an the governor say education is our number one priority, the reality shown by their actions are quite the opposite.

  • Blue Typhoon CHEYENNE, WY
    March 14, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    As a teacher here are my 2 cents. (that may be all I can afford)

    When I graduated for college I never even looked at teaching in Utah. The pay was too low and the classes were too big. I looked exclusively in Wyoming where pay was better. Utah has the advantage of lots of people, mostly young and out recently out of college, who are willing to stay in Utah and will soon drop out of the profession because they realize they can do almost anything for better pay and benefits.

    Some have said that throwing money at the problem doesn't help but in Wyoming they have done just that. Over the last 8 years the funding for education in the state has increased dramatically and there has been a huge benefit. In NAEP testing, which is a national test also taken by Utah, Wyoming outscored every state except two. This is done in a state which is rural and in very small districts where it is harder to retain teachers who would rather live in a city.

    Utah you will get what you pay. Right now Wyoming is going through a huge budget crunch because of natural resources. While there has been cuts, they have decided to still pay teachers because they know it is worth it.

  • Lolly Lehi, UT
    March 14, 2017 8:23 a.m.

    I was called to substitute teach 8th graders for one day after not doing so for many years. The kids were rude, noisy, and were trying to impress each other. I have another friend who is a full time teacher and she told me that if I had become aggressive in my attitude toward them to get control, I would have had mothers complaining to the administration. Parents have a whole lot to do with the problems due their support of their "angel" Billy or Mary and disregard for the teacher. Just look at the ideas some teachers come up with to increase the knowledge of their students and one parent complaining will destroy the opportunity for all of the other students.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    March 14, 2017 8:20 a.m.


    By all means, all proposed tax increases should be reported in terms of actual percent increase. That isn't or shouldn't be partisan.

    Those who focus on party are revealing their own callowness and small minded thinking. Such thinking prevents intelligent, productive dialogue.

  • whatsup1 Kekaha, HI
    March 14, 2017 8:18 a.m.

    I'll tell you why I quit the education profession, and it wasn't the salary as a teacher with 39 years of experience and many extra coursesI was at the top of the salary scale and earning a $10,000 a year bonus as a national certified teacher working in a special needs school. I was no longer making a difference in student's lives. We switched to a block schedule which made it impossible to cover the topics expected (I took extensive training in methods to make the block schedule work). The extensive testing made it difficult to actually teach. I worked extensively with low performing students and was continually frustrated with criticism over students inability to reach unrealistic goals a and not recognizing the improvement made over time. I worked in a rural school with great parental support, but when you no longer feel you are doing the best you can it's time to change.
    One of the best teachers I know left industry to teach so he could make as difference after 2 years he got frustrated and worked in a private school for 2 more years before returning to an engineering career. Those with the high motives to teach become frustrated and it takes a special person to ..

  • JFoote Mapleton, UT
    March 14, 2017 8:14 a.m.

    As a 39 year veteran educator, I can attest to the fact that I have significantly less time to TEACH my students due to excessive testing and tracking requirements imposed by those who view our endeavors from a business quality control perspective. Add to that the stress and preparation for personnel evaluations that demean and strike fear in those just entering the profession. I, like the majority of those who join the teaching profession, entered to make a difference for young people. Want to know why folks are leaving? Look at the efficacy research already available. When your feel you can't make that difference, you leave! Or, if you feel the difference you make is seriously under-valued, you leave. Let us teach! Give us the support we need, then get out of our way.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    March 14, 2017 7:08 a.m.

    Increased work load, reports, more paper work, mandatory testing (SAGE) tied to their performance and not the demographics of the classroom, and higher demands from administration and parents, all contribute to this while receiving the same pay. Let teachers teach! That's why they got into the profession in the first place.

    I know. I hear it every day!

  • Mick , 00
    March 14, 2017 6:51 a.m.

    Utah girl-

    When you teach public school you cannot teach whatever you want. And that doesn't mean you are spineless and small minded if you don't want your kids indoctrinated with someone's opinion. Pretty harsh opinionated words.

    Did you have to stop teaching because all of Al Gores "facts" didn't actually come to pass?

  • Mick , 00
    March 14, 2017 6:45 a.m.

    A few years ago in alpine school district the " association " negotiated for the benefits of the older teachers instead of helping increase the salaries of the newer teachers. My sister was one of them. In fact she actually went without insurance as part of this negotiation for about six months to pay for the older teachers benefits.

    Maybe the union, run by the older teachers, should do something about it. And keep in mind, there isn't an endless supply of money.

  • Something to think about Ogden, UT
    March 14, 2017 5:51 a.m.

    I've been a teacher for 25 years....

    Many comments given are correct, but let's not forget parents. They are also a major reason for the turnover.

    Parents are very difficult to deal with. If parents only knew what their children are really like, they'd be much more supportive of teachers.

    I've had parents who've admit they can't get their child to take out the trash or mow the yard. Those same parents then blame the teacher for their students lack of academic performance. Too often parents miss that basic correlation.

    And this is but one example of 'parents'.

  • shabam Ogden, UT
    March 14, 2017 5:39 a.m.

    Teachers always want more money. Throwing Money at the problem, wont fix the problem, as we found out with raising taxes on fixing the roads in Utah, or Crime.
    The Government is out of touch with the People.
    There is no diversity in Utah Schools, They do not hire non whites, non mormons, that goes with teachers, police, school districts. No integrity, no diversity, no equality, no performance.
    The People and or Parents no longer trust schools they do not teach, they teach to pass kids and those they do not like they harass and blame the kids and the parent, or kick out the kids and try to harass the parents in order to cover up their lack of responsibility.
    Performance is horrific in Utah. But they need a raise.
    The school districts are top heavy with people who believe their jobs are not expendable and are a retirement place to cover up any lack of accountability with soundbites and a pattern of blaming students and parents, not to mention promoting those teachers who play the game.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    March 14, 2017 3:44 a.m.

    Sounds like a five alarm fire to me!

    Seems shocking as it wasn't much discussion of teacher salaries in the article. But then again I always read that Utah Prides itself on its Workforce that's ready to work for low wages. I also read over and over again the accusation that Republicans prefer mediocre education in order to encourage low-wage worker availability.
    I know that Utah likes to Pride itself on education but I don't see how education could be good with this kind of teacher turnover

  • IceCreamGhost Sandy, UT
    March 14, 2017 1:05 a.m.

    Well if you worked a highly politicized job with low pay, wouldn't you leave?

    I taught for three years and loved my job. Loved the kids, and my subject. But after three years I was done. If you have 36 kids in a classroom, 2 with severe disabilities, 5 who can barely speak English and a whole lot of personalities in between - it's going to be a rough time. Compound that with feeling like people dont respect what you are doing and the ongoing political fight for funding and it's very disheartening.

    There need to be firm caps on the teacher/student ratio. More support for english language learners and special education. Teachers need to be paid as well as other college graduates with a similar background. Otherwise Utah will never be able to stanch the leaving and will be picking up the pieces for decades.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:41 a.m.

    Too many look at teaching as a part-time job until they get something better and the ones I spoke with just out of college said they "just have to have their summers off" so they can still party. Maybe the universities that crank out education degrees should try a bit harder to make teaching a profession....and lobby for education reform, year-round work, and then teachers would deserve a 33% increase and not as many new buildings would be required. There are a lot of professions that have large turnover. How'd you like to graduate from medical school only to not be able to find a residency? For some reason, educators always get the sympathy nod from every one as if they were the only ones that have any stress in their lives.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:39 a.m.

    Notice that the last sentence of this story, all will be solved if we just raise the income taxes to pay our teachers more. Plesase stop the madness, stop raising taxes, it will not solve the problems of the world.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    March 14, 2017 12:20 a.m.

    It's fun spending someone else's money.

    That's the way our legislators do things, and not much of it filters to the classroom, and teachers pay. Has there ever been a society that has spent as much money on education?

    Yet, when education has problems, teachers take the brunt of the blame, and their accountability sky rockets to a bunch of new mandatory regulations, and rules, brought on by those who create the problems:

    * standardized tests
    * common core
    * mandatory paperwork, and meetings
    * cooperative learning
    * teaching strategies
    * group work
    * etc

    Education does not have to be complicated, or expensive to be effective. Simplify it, and make it more effective!

  • Hubble65 Sandy, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:11 a.m.

    For those who use Utah Right to Know. Insurance costs the state agency (district) decides to report, the highest option, is added to salaries. So if option A in your insurance is the best and most costly that is the one the district reports to URtK. Second, no pension for teachers hired after 2011 I believe thansk to Dan LIndquist and the legislature. They get a 401k/457 plan and that is all. Try saving when your making $35k with student loans. Last, summers are spent with endorsements and further education, not time off. With a Masters you make $48k to $50k a year with the premium cost of your insurance passing to you which means less money.

    The fear in the report should be those teachers over 31 and 40 walking away. Those are tenured teachers opting out of the pension they are grandfathered in and that experience is gone. No mentors to new teachers so with minimal support, new teachers walk also. That is okay, since the parents of this state prefer no higher taxes so they can have their recreation items and large families. A perfect storm is brewing and like it or not, it will take higher wages, increase taxes and a return of the pension to begin to turn the ship around.

  • Johnny Triumph Ibapah, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:08 a.m.

    I have an El Ed degree but work in the tech world now. I didn't choose to leave the field, 20 years ago the growth hadn't hit the area much yet. After multiple interviews and one offer for a half time computer teaching job (salary of $12k was NOT appealing) I moved on to a local startup. I really do miss teaching but I'm glad I'm not there now. I watch a close relative struggle with kids who have no accountability and extreme behavioral problems is just not worth it. But it's disappointing that we can't retain this talent.

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    March 14, 2017 12:03 a.m.

    I'm reading this article, seeing they "lack hard data" about the cause. Are these the kind of people who need hard data on why water is wet or why the sun rises in the east? The answer is they are paid poorly. Duh.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    March 13, 2017 11:50 p.m.

    This is not a mystery. Low pay. Endless testing. Policies made by people who have no clue what teaching really entails. Children with tons of behavior problems, and teachers are powerless to do anything, lack of decision-making power, huge class sizes. Loss of prep time and professional development, endless regulations... I could go on.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    March 13, 2017 11:20 p.m.

    Note to DN Moderators: Lighten up.

    This is not surprising, we have made teacher burdensome, the pay is lousy but what is worse is that there is absolutely no growth in salary (0-2% raises per year aren't that appealing), worsening benefits, no real real pension for new hires and a chance to be micromanaged and put down at every corner. And those class sizes...

  • tesuji Bountiful, UT
    March 13, 2017 11:18 p.m.

    There's no mystery as to the cause. Utah spends less money per student than most states. Salaries are low, class sizes are huge, public respect for teachers is low.

    The teachers who do stay in this profession are true heroes. They are the only people in the system who seem to actually care about our kids.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    March 13, 2017 11:02 p.m.

    73% quit? Holy cow this is a disaster. If this happened in engineering the tech industry with go bust....so would the medical field. The worst of this effects large metro areas where the violence combined with the low pay and lack of resources is not worth it. Public education is collapsing and that is why Trump appointed the person he did to re-think the direction of eduction altogether. This really has to be an outside the box thinker and Becky Devos is just that. I can see the future of education minus the national teacher unions and each state deciding its own circulum and methods. Many more private and charter schools and I think home schooling should get some major support as well. The common core BIG federal govt -- one size fits all -- approach is horrible and a failure but that is no surprise -- everything Democrats do is a disaster. Inner city kids need school choice. Charter and private schools need the protection to be faith-based and require standards of conduct and even dress. Finally teachers need more education and associated much better starting pay.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 13, 2017 10:44 p.m.

    @nonamesaccpeted. I was wondering why the republican controlled legislature was framing the proposed sales tax increase as only 3 percent increase when all reality it is about a 270 percent increase.

    Lets call a spade a spade.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    March 13, 2017 10:44 p.m.

    If an idealistic new teacher excitedly looks forward to helping students get a good education and then discovers that he/she can't really provide the help the students need because of overcrowded classrooms, it can get discouraging. I asked a teacher what she does if there are too many students in the class. Her response: "You teach to the middle." It's just that simple. Students with special needs don't get the help they need because the teacher simply doesn't have enough time to give each student the special attention they need and deserve. After two or three years of helplessly and unsuccessfully trying to provide what the students need and watching kids get further and further behind simply because there are too many students in the class, teachers sometimes can get discouraged and leave the profession to get into a profession that isn't so thankless and discouraging.

  • Mom of Five Orem, UT
    March 13, 2017 10:44 p.m.

    Yes, teacher pay is publicized. But potential new teachers probably have no idea how much of their lives and time outside of school they'll be expected or need to dedicate to their job in order to be a good teacher. Add that to the largest class sizes in the nation and the most time spent in front of kids in the world (35% more time a day spent teaching than most other nations = less time to prepare and grade), and it is a no-brainer that college students are running away from teaching as a profession. I'm a teacher, and I love my job, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone just getting started.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 13, 2017 10:37 p.m.


    I taught in three states and was fully tenured in two states. I never heard a teacher say "I hate my job". I also never knew of a teacher who quit to have babies.

    No, teachers leave the profession because the frustrations keep mounting. There are a lot of school principals and administrators who lack the management skills and people skills to be a crew shift leader at McDonalds. There are school board members who won't renew a teacher's contract if his daughter is not a straight A student. There are principals who freak out if they ever have to deal with a parent over the phone. There are parents with deep-set hatred toward anything involving teachers. I overheard a female school principal once admit she hired male teachers solely based upon their looks. I worked for a male principal once who kept a loaded handgun in the top drawer of his desk. A vice-principal poured Kahlua in his coffee every morning and staggered around the building until lunch time.

    Eventually the idealism and a desire to better this world by working with children evaporates. Been there. Done that. Happy now.

  • geekusprimus Little Elm, TX
    March 13, 2017 10:09 p.m.

    I think you see a lot of turnover, too, particularly among younger teachers, because of Utah culture. Traditionally speaking, most primary and secondary teachers are women. They graduate college, get married, teach for a few years, start raising a family, and elect to quit their jobs and be stay-at-home moms. This is very acceptable and even expected in Utah culture, and it isn't necessarily a bad thing, either.
    Obviously, this isn't the whole issue, but it is an important factor that needs to be considered. You either need to find a work-around (such as encouraging more men to go into teaching or providing flexible part-time positions where possible) or accept the problem as it is and deal with the revolving door of young teachers.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 13, 2017 9:42 p.m.

    I can't imagine why. Poor pay and no retirement. Why on earth isn't everyone trying to be a teacher?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    March 13, 2017 8:50 p.m.

    1-Why does the DesNews report the proposed tax increase as merely 1% or less? And do so without reporting the current tax rate? The proposed tax increase is 1 percentage Point. On top of our current 5% income tax, this is a 20% increase in State income tax.

    20% increase, not 1%.

    2-I immediately wonder how many of the teachers who left the profession did so after starting a family and desiring to be home with the babies.

    That single factor might easily account for the difference in retention rates between Utah and other schools. But not a single mention of it as a possibility?

    3-Teacher pay is well publicized. No one should be surprised by it. However, new teachers might well learn they don't like the work. In that case moving to a different career is good for the teacher and for students who deserve teachers who enjoy their work.

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 13, 2017 8:41 p.m.

    Everyone goes into the teaching profession with the best of intentions and no one thinks they'll wash out in a few years. But the politics run awfully thick these days. When the politics impede the sanctity of actual teaching, that's when teachers start looking at different careers.

    I used to teach an elective class called "Climate Studies". Do you know what the outrage would be if I taught such a class nowadays? That would be one heated school board meeting and parents would want to send me out of town on the next Greyhound bus. Some school board members would want that too.

    No matter how strong or committed you are as an educator, you're up against people who are spineless and small-minded.

    Everyone has their breaking point.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 13, 2017 8:33 p.m.

    Pay 'em badly, disparage their work, and that's how they repay us?

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 13, 2017 8:23 p.m.

    Best managed State? I disagree. Start paying a decent wage & giving due respect for those that take care of our highest kids rate in the country.