With the majority citing "personal reasons," more than 1,800 Idaho teachers walked away from their classrooms for good last year. And with an increasing number of individuals seeking "alternative" routes to certification rather than attending traditional four-year college programs, the learning curve for educators in the Gem State became longer and higher.
The Associated Press reports that the Idaho State Department of Education released new data Sept. 28, indicating that 957 departing educators cited "personal reasons," 143 more were laid off and 127 were fired. The 2011 number of teachers who left their profession jumped by more than 500 compared to 2010, and more than 1,000 compared to 2009.
"If we continue to silence teachers' voices and impose one-size-fits-all mandates, the best and brightest teachers will be discouraged from working in the schools that need them most," Idaho Education Association President Penni Cyr told the AP.
But department spokeswoman Melissa McGrath was quick to deflect the drop-off away from the controversial set of Students Come First initiatives.
"It's clear that when you look at the data over the course of the past few years, this has more to do with economic recession than with education reforms," McGrath told the AP.