Hancock, C. B. (2009). National estimates of retention, migration and attrition: A multi-year comparison of music and non-music teachers. Journal of Research in Music Education, 57(2), 92-107.
In this study, Carl Hancock examines data on teacher retention between 1988 and 2001 from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). He found that during this time period, 84% of music teachers remained in their positions after any particular year. Of those who left their positions, 10% moved to another school, while 6% left the profession. These results were similar to the results for the teaching profession in general.
This information is of particular interest to pre-service teachers about to enter the field (and those of us who are anxious for them to be hired!) Based on my limited experience with the music teacher market in New Jersey, I strongly suspect that the retention rate was abnormally high this year, as mid-career teachers opted not to move (especially if it involved a home sale) and late-career teachers delayed retirement in order to boost their retirement savings. Since these moves are presumably only deferred, it stands to reason that this trend will reverse itself and we may see a year or two with retention below 84% and a very active job market. Whether the trend reverses itself in time for next year’s hiring season remains to be seen.