School management linked to teacher turnover
(N.Y.) The high rate of teacher turnover in most schools serving low-income neighborhoods has generally been perceived as the result of the problems students from low-income families bring to class.
But an examination of six new studies focused on teacher employment suggests it is poor working conditions at those schools–rather than the students themselves–that rank as the biggest factor when teachers decide to move on.
“The poor working conditions common in America’s neediest schools explain away most, if not all, of the relationship between student characteristics and teacher attrition,” said Nicole S. Simon and Susan Moore Johnson in a report released Tuesday by the Teachers College Record, a publication of Columbia University.
“This is important because, unlike demographic characteristics of students, working conditions can be addressed,” the researchers said. “Policy makers and practitioners have many options for improving aspects of the school environment, and, although more research can inform this work, much is already known about what matters to teachers as they are deciding whether to continue teaching in their schools.”
About 500,000 of the nation’s 3.5 million teachers leave their schools each year. Of these, an estimated 40 percent transfer to another school while the rest leave the profession. The numbers are troubling–not just because of the impact they have on public education overall, but also because the rate of attrition is much higher than most “high-status, high-paying profession,” the Columbia report said.
Turnover is especially high in neighborhoods serving low-income families, where it can run as much as 50 percent higher than wealthier schools. According to a 2004 study, high-poverty schools in urban centers lose on average 20 percent of their faculty either to other schools or other professions.
Among middle school teachers in New York City, 66 percent leave within five years.
The research is also clear that schools having to keep up with constant turnover are less effective in School management linked to teacher turnover :: SI&A Cabinet Report :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet: