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BOISE -- More Idaho teachers left the profession last year, but state officials say they've also certificated more educators.

Data obtained Friday by The Associated Press shows about 1,800 teachers left the profession for various reasons during the 2011-2012 school year. That's up from the previous year, when 1,300 teachers left, and the year before, when 700 departed.

The statewide teachers union attributed the increased exits last year to reforms that limited collective bargaining and job protections. Public schools chief Tom Luna countered that the recession was more likely the culprit.

While teachers left the profession in bigger numbers last year, Luna's department says there's also been a 25 percent increase in the issuance of teaching certificates and as a result, the number of certificated staff in schools is about the same.

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