A new report finds that fewer teachers are leaving North Carolina classrooms.
But the numbers from the Department of Public Instruction aren't all positive.
Education advocates said while the attrition rates are down, the numbers point to a bigger problem.
Experienced teachers are staying but beginning ones are not, according to statistics.
"That's alarming," said Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators. "Those are the teachers we want to keep in the profession that we want to make career educators."
Attrition numbers for "experienced or licensed" teachers dropped from 7.6 percent in 2016-17 to 7.25 percent in 2017-2018. Attrition numbers for beginning teachers rose slightly--from 12.31 percent in 2016-2017 to 12.34 in the last calendar year.
"What's concerning is who are we going to replace the older teachers with?" Jewell said. "We've got experienced teachers that are going to retire out here in a few years. We know that our pipeline is down. I think the answer is investing in educator pay."
Overall statewide attrition rates are down to 8.1 percent. That compares with 8.7 percent in 2016-2017.
Speaker of the N.C. House Tim Moore said: "This report peels back the political rhetoric around education to show the remarkable impact of consistent pay raises, new investments and policy reforms that benefit students in the classroom and fulfill our promise of a teacher appreciation agenda in North Carolina."
New report finds fewer teachers leaving NC classrooms; NCAE says numbers aren't all positive