Solomonson, J. K., Korte, D. S., Thieman, E. B., Retallick, M. S., & Keating, K. H. (2018). Factors contributing to Illinois school-based agriculture teachers’ final decision to leave the classroom. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(2), 321-342 https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.02321
Teacher attrition is a significant problem nationally and a special challenge for school-based agriculture education programs. The purpose of this study was to investigate contributing variables associated with former Illinois school-based agriculture teachers and their decision to leave the profession. A four-factor conceptual model is proposed as a framework for explaining agriculture teacher retention or attrition and includes the multivariate constructs of Personal Factors, Working Conditions, Teacher Development, and Compensation. Demographic characteristics are explored as well as difference between novice and experienced teachers and their perceptions of attrition influences. This study is unique in that it reports survey data from teachers who have left the profession (n = 91) and explores their reflective perceptions about reasons for leaving. Among all teachers, Personal Factors and Teacher Development were found to have the most impact on decisions to leave the profession. Compensation was found to be a more significant attrition influence for novice teachers than for experienced teachers. Recommendations for organizations hoping to promote agriculture teacher retention are discussed.