The number of teachers retiring from Metro schools is the verge of doubling; it’s not clear why. Retirees have to weigh in factors like savings and family; some are also pointing to recent changes handed down from the state.
Last year 117 Metro teachers retired. So far this summer the count is 222 – almost double – and totals won’t be complete until August. A few teachers say they’d waited long enough, after putting retirement off because of the recession. Then there are others like Sylvia Hix:
“I could’ve retired five, six years ago.”
Hix taught for four decades, spending her last 16 years as a librarian at Lakeview Elementary. She says she could’ve stayed longer, but she wasn’t a fan of the new teacher evaluation system. For Hix, it was the final straw after lawmakers stripped teachers’ collective-bargaining rights last year.
“I don’t want to sound like sour grapes – not at all – because I could’ve stayed on. But I just feel like we’re not valued. And that’s not just for the older, more experienced teachers either. I heard that from many teachers – just not valued anymore.”
Another factor behind the seeming spike in retirements may be baby boomers aging out, though Metro doesn’t track how many teachers are near retirement.
Unlike retirements, the number of resignations in Metro appears way down, at least for now. Officials stress that’s because the tally won’t be done until next month – and many teachers may put off officially quitting for a few more weeks.
The system is hardly trying to shrink – when school starts back next month, Metro expects to grow by upwards of 1600 students.