Teachers are leaving their profession in record numbers, especially at the high-school level, according to study released Thursday.
Some 40 percent of the nation's classroom teachers are now 50 years or older and an unprecedented number of them will likely retire in the next five years, the study by the National Center for Education Information said.
The number of teachers expected to leave the field is double what it was 12 years ago. Losing so many classroom veterans spells trouble for schools trying to meet federal guidelines to hire only the most qualified teachers — especially in math, science and special education.
The researchers said the current pool of teachers is graying because so many of them switched from other careers in their 30s and 40s. That trend is likely to continue.
The study also said 80 percent of teachers surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs.