State school board members are discussing the issue of teacher retention. Over the past 11 years, the number of Missouri teachers with up to 10 years of experience has increased steadily while the number of teachers with more experience has dropped at the same rate. Janet Goeller with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says the trend is alarming. Goeller says the turnover costs districts money and makes it tougher for students to learn because of a lack of continuity from year to year. She says better wages wouldn’t hurt in retaining more teachers, but there are some intangibles schools must offer such as professional development and encouragement. Goeller acknowledges some districts might have been able to retain more teachers last year, but for the wrong reason: the poor economy left few other jobs available.
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