Projections of California Teacher Retirements: A County and Regional Perspective

By Tony Fong, Reino Makkonen, Karina Jaquet

Cover California Teacher Retirements: A County and Regional Perspective
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Description

In recent years, education policymakers and researchers have expressed concern about how the anticipated retirements among baby boomer educators in public school systems will affect the ability to meet workforce needs.

Teachers are more likely than nurses, social workers, and accountants to retire before age 65; meanwhile, the number of new teachers in California has been declining.

This REL West 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.

This projection of California teacher retirements over the next 10 years found that:

  • One fourth of teachers who were teaching in 2013/14 are projected to retire over 2014/15–2023/24
  • Projected retirement rates varied greatly by county — from 19 percent to 61 percent — suggesting that counties across the state will confront very different staffing situations in the coming years because of projected retirements
  • The range of projected retirement rates statewide in math, science, English language arts, history, special education, and elementary school is 23–26 percent

These findings suggest that careful local workforce planning will be essential, particularly in counties projected to experience high teacher retirement rates.

Local and state education leaders might consider policies to increase teacher supply, such as alternative certification options, signing bonuses, and/or loan forgiveness for student teachers.