State board grapples with high turnover, low pay for Missouri teachers

The rate of teacher turnover in Missouri is nearly double the national average, and the state’s average starting teacher salary is among the lowest in the U.S. The State Board of Education discussed these issues at its January meeting Tuesday.

The state’s average starting salary is second lowest in the country at $31,842, according to the National Education Association. The average salary for all Missouri teachers is $48,293, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

The low pay rate is a factor that the board believes contributes to the state’s dismal retention figures. About 14 percent of public school teachers in Missouri quit every academic year, according to a December report from the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. Missouri’s churn rate is nearly double the national average of 6 percent.

Leadership quality and school climate are also contributing factors, the board says. Teacher pay can’t be directly set by the board or the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Math and special education are the areas with the biggest shortage of teachers.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio.

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