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In an earlier post, I discussed the tendency of new educators to leave the teaching profession in the infancy of their careers and asked why and what can be done to support new teachers. New teacher burnout isn’t the only cause of high turnover in today’s schools: Thousands of baby boomer teachers are at retirement-age. Schools are now faced with the problem of replacing younger new teachers as well as retiring experienced teachers.

California is projecting that it will need 100,000 new teachers over the next decade to compensate for retiring baby boomers, according to Michael Podgursky, an economist at the University of Missouri. Thomas G. Carroll, President of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future described the problem in a New York Times article: “The problem is that our schools are like a bucket with holes in the bottom, and we keep pouring in teachers.”

I am lucky to have had many amazing teachers as I was growing up. I was also fortunate in that year after year, I could go back to my old school and visit the teachers that had an impact on my life. Many of them have retired or are near retirement now but I have benefited from my ongoing relationships with those teachers most special to me. They were able to give me advice, write college recommendations, and help me find a job after college.

With half of today’s new teachers quitting after just five years, where will our children find the guidance, mentorship, and stability I received from some of my greatest teachers?

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