In the immortal words of David Lee Roth, a man who truly appreciated teachers, "I don't feel tardy..." But Alaska certainly lags in improving teacher turnover. Why do we care? Outside of the family, teacher quality is perhaps the primary determinant of student performance. And the longer teachers stay on the job, the better they get.
In August ISER released a new report: Turnover Among Alaska Teachers: Is It Changing? The answer is no, it's still bad: "Turnover among Alaska's teachers was roughly the same in 2007 as it had been in 1999, with about 14% leaving their school districts. Turnover also remained twice as high in rural as in urban districts - about 22%, compared with 10%. That lack of broad change comes after years of effort... to reduce teacher turnover, especially in rural areas."
Teacher salaries are still about 10% above the national average, but that may not be enough given the recent elimination of the defined benefit pension for new state employees and other challenges: "To put Alaska teacher turnover in context, it’s useful to know that turnover in Alaska’s largest districts is roughly comparable to turnover in mid-sized cities nationwide. [T]urnover in Alaska’s rural districts is higher than turnover just about anywhere in the U.S.—except in inner-city neighborhoods in America’s largest cities. Conditions unique to remote rural Alaska certainly contribute to high turnover—the shortage of good housing, high living costs, isolation, difficulties and costs of travel, and limited access to medical care, to name some."