Follow NWPE on:

Subscribe to RSS Feed:

New Report: The State of Teacher Retention in Urban Schools
posted by: Cindy Omlin | August 10, 2012, 07:44 PM   

Experts agree that teacher retention is one of the biggest challenges facing urban school districts. Everyone knows that an aging teacher workforce will lead to projected shortages in the years to come, but, worse still, some studies estimate that as many as 50% of newer teachers are leaving the classroom after just five years. In light of the crisis, a new study by The New Teacher Project (TNTP) aims to identify the reasons teachers leave and promotes long-term strategies for empowering a successful teacher workforce.

According to TNTP researcher, the best and worst teachers leave urban schools at strikingly similar rates. The nation's 50 largest districts lose approximately 10,000 effective teachers each year. Meanwhile, about 40% of teachers with more than seven years of experience are considered less effective at advancing academic progress than the average first-year teacher.

The report contends that most principals and administrators not only successfully identify the high-performing teachers, but they fail to establish incentives for the teachers who do prove to be successful–otherwise known as the "irreplaceable" teachers. Researchers suggest that due to the system's inherent inability to link retention strategies to teacher quality, many schools are suffering. According to the report, the results of these policies create a "revolving door" for educators in high-need communities where good teachers feel chronically underappreciated.

Among the report's key findings:
  • The study's urban school districts lost their most successful teachers at a rate comparable to the attrition of the least successful teachers.
  • Teachers who experienced two or more different recruitment/retention strategies—including advancement opportunities, regular performance feedback, and public recognition—said they planned to stay at their schools nearly twice as long as other teachers who received no feedback or incentives.
  • In one of the districts studied, only a fifth of the lowest-performing teachers were encouraged to leave, while more than a third were given incentives to stay.
  • "Irreplaceable" teachers were much more likely to stay at schools with a strong instructional culture in which principals set strong performance expectations for them.

While the study's finding that teachers who feel undervalued tend to leave may seem logical, TNTP stresses that the real way to combat the issue is be instituting large-scale education reform. Among the policy suggestions, TNTP recommends paying the best teachers six-figure salaries; requiring principals to set goals for retaining effective teachers; and dismissing teachers who are underperforming. The study's authors argue that together these strategies could also raise the rigor and respect of the teaching profession as a whole.

What do you think about the results of the TNTP study?

Comment below.

Originally posted by Alix at AAE.

Comments (0)Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.