Home > Uncategorized > Research on Teacher Turnover Proves the Obvious: Teachers Leave Because of Low Pay; Lack of Support; and Poor Working Conditions

Research on Teacher Turnover Proves the Obvious: Teachers Leave Because of Low Pay; Lack of Support; and Poor Working Conditions

As one who reads a lot of articles on public education, I am often astonished at the lengths researchers go to prove what should be intuitively obvious. A recent report from the Learning Policy Institute by Desiree Carver-Thomas and Linda Darling-Hammond is a case in point. After gleaning through reams of data from the latest National Center for Education Statistics’ Schools and Staffing Surveys, Mss. Carver-Thomas and Darling-Hammond determined who is leaving teaching assignment, why, and which students are most impacted. Their findings are unsurprising:

Teacher vacancies tend to be higher in the South where wages and working conditions are poorest and lower in the Northeast where the opposite is true. The students most affected by turnover?

…turnover rates are 50% higher in Title I schools, which serve more low-income students. Turnover rates are also 70% higher for teachers in schools serving the largest concentrations of students of color.

In short, children raised in poverty and students of color find themselves on the short end of the stick. The policy recommendations to address this issue?

To stem teacher turnover, federal, state, and district policymakers should consider improving the key factors associated with turnover: compensation, teacher preparation and support, and teaching conditions.

Neither Ms. Carver-Thomas nor Ms. Darling-Hammond say so, but to accomplish these high-minded results states would need to provide more funds to schools serving children raised in poverty and diminish the number of schools with large concentrations of students of color. More money and greater racial justice are the heart of the issue… for it is impossible to improve compensation, teacher preparation and support, and teaching conditions without those two elements.

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