What Keeps Good Teachers in the Classroom? Understanding and Reducing Teacher Turnover

Working conditions play a much larger role than retirement in explaining why teachers transfer, leave a class, or leave the profession. This brief looks at the research about teacher turnover, and finds that while teachers' decisions to stay or leave a particular school is contingent on a variety of factors, in all cases the key seems to lie in the level of success teachers encounter in raising their students' academic performances.

Teachers are crucial to the success of our students. Yet many of them are leaving their schools and the profession every year, particularly in poorer, lower-performing schools. Several studies have attempted to identify why teachers leave and how to stem their turnover, but few have identified the quality of teachers who are departing. As in any profession, not all attrition is bad, but whether bad or good, it has financial ramifications. This brief explores the costs associated with teachers leaving the profession and their schools, the characteristics of those likely to leave, and what can be done to prevent unnecessary and costly turnover.

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Alliance for Excellent Education (2008)


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