Teachers Among Top 5 Groups Leaving Idaho

Apr 28, 2013

An elementary school class in Nampa.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

More teachers are leaving Idaho than people in other professions. That’s according to a report released earlier this month by the Idaho Department of Labor.

Of people who left Idaho between 2008 and 2011, 3 percent where K-12 teachers and 4 percent were college or university instructors. Both are among the top five groups of professionals leaving the state, with K-12 teachers at number four and college instructors number three.

Alivia Metts is a regional economist with the Idaho Department of Labor. She looked at U.S. Census data for a picture of what’s known as out-migration. She expected to see people leave for jobs like construction (in the number two spot.)

“You know I wasn’t even thinking education,” Metts says. “I thought it was kind of odd, as far as the top industries, especially if you combine the two.”

Metts says some teachers are leaving for higher paying jobs in neighboring states. Some are going because their jobs have disappeared because of funding cuts. But many she says are simply following other industries. For example someone moves to Washington for a construction job, something happening a lot, and that person’s spouse who is a teacher goes too.

The snapshot is different in higher education. Metts says professors seem to leave Idaho for better career opportunities.

She says losing educated workers is not good for a state.

“You’re losing that knowledge and expertise. But,” she adds, “I don’t think it is at such a rate that you would draw concern.”

Metts says the 3 and 4 percent does not constitute an educator exodus. Last year reports of teachers fleeing Idaho fueled debate over a set of education laws known as Students Come First. Voters repealed those through propositions on the November ballot. Earlier this year a report from Idaho’s Office of Performance Evaluations said a mass teacher exodus is not happening.

Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio