Recruiting and Retaining Teachers: Understanding Why Teachers Teach

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  1. Recruiting and Retaining Teachers
  2. IAP || Book || Opportunities and Challenges in Teacher Recruitment and Retention
  3. Coalition focuses on recruitment and retention of teachers
  4. Teachers’ Voices Across the Pipeline

For example, the share of high-poverty schools that had vacancies and report being unable to fill teaching positions in at least one field is One consequence of this greater challenge in high-poverty schools is their higher share of brand new teachers and teachers who are new hires. Here our analysis coincides with what Sorensen and Ladd found in their study. The share of all teachers who were newly hired teachers new to the school completing the survey was But that share was two percentage points higher in high-poverty schools And, when we look at the share of all teachers who are not only newly hired teachers but in their first year of teaching, we see again that the share is higher in high-poverty schools 5.

Finally, in high-poverty schools, the share of newly hired teachers who are in their first year of teaching is much higher than in low-poverty schools Although the differences are small in relative terms, these three measures together point to an added source of disadvantage for low-income children and the schools that serve them. One survey question asked principals how many teachers held full- or part-time positions in the school around the first of October for the — school year. Another survey question asked how many teachers at the school around the first of October were newly hired by the school and, of those newly hired teachers, how many were in their first year of teaching.

The share of all teachers who are newly hired was calculated by dividing the number of teachers who were newly hired by the total number of full- and part-time teachers in each school and averaging that number across all schools responding to survey.

Calculating the share of all teachers who are newly hired and in their first year of teaching follows the same process. The last row uses the previous two numerators. For each school, the total number of teachers who are in their first year of teaching is divided by the total number of newly hired teachers in each school and averaged across all schools. Not only is hiring a challenge, but the data show that it has become substantially harder in the past few years. First, the share of schools reporting any vacancy increased by more than 11 percentage points between the — and — school years from Even more troubling, the share of schools that were trying to hire but reported an unfilled vacancy in at least one position tripled during this period from 3.

Relatedly, the share of all teachers who were newly hired teachers increased between the — and — school years from 7. Note: Data are for public noncharter schools and are based on a count of schools, not on the total number of vacancies or the number of teachers the school failed to hire. With regard to teachers hired, one survey question asked principals how many teachers held full- or part-time positions in the school around the first of October for the — school year.

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers

The share of all teachers who were newly hired was calculated by dividing the number of teachers who were newly hired by the total number of full- and part-time teachers in each school and averaging that number across all schools responding to survey. Calculating the share of all teachers who were newly hired and in their first year of teaching follows the same process. Excessive attrition is another troubling dynamic plaguing teacher labor markets and a major driver of shortages Ingersoll , ; Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, and Carver-Thomas ; Darling-Hammond et al.

Attrition and turnover—leaving the profession altogether or switching schools—are high in teaching in both absolute and relative terms. Turnover and attrition have been increasing over time Goldring, Taie, and Riddles and are higher for U. After the — school year, 6. As in other aspects of teacher shortages, however, rates vary between low- and high-poverty schools. In low-poverty schools, To put it another way, the aggregate turnover and attrition rate is Teaching status is coded from the perspective of whether teachers are generating a vacancy in the school the year after the SASS.

IAP || Book || Opportunities and Challenges in Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Teachers who generated a vacancy in the school year but are in the profession teaching in another school or are on short-term leave and returning to the school are in the "left the school but teaching" category. More data are needed to determine whether attrition causes certain schools to lose teachers with qualifications associated with effective teaching.

As suggested by the literature and noted in our first paper in this series, overall, the credentials of teachers who stay in teaching are stronger than the credentials of teachers who quit the profession, which would indicate no leakage in teaching overall through attrition. Table 4 provides a detailed look at the shares of teachers with various qualifications certification, experience, and educational background, as in our first report by teacher status, i.

The NBPTS is a nongovernmental organization that administers National Board certification, a voluntary national assessment program that certifies teachers who demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practice in their certificate area. Note: Data are for teachers in public noncharter schools. According to research and to the U.

Teaching status is determined by the reported status of teachers in the Teacher Follow-up Survey conducted for the — school year, one year after the — Schools and Staffing Survey. Teachers who generated a vacancy in the school year but remained in the profession i. As the table shows, the qualifications of teachers who stay, leave the school, or quit the profession differ, but schools are not consistently losing strong credentials due to attrition, because the qualifications of teachers staying at the school are the strongest with the exception of teachers who are NBTPS.


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Among teachers who left the school or quit teaching, smaller shares are fully certified Earlier in this report we showed that turnover and attrition are higher in high-poverty schools see discussion around Figure C. Here we discuss how turnover and attrition could be responsible for some leakage of credentials from high-poverty schools. One reason is the weaker link between higher credentials and retention in high-poverty schools.

In short, high-poverty schools would need to compensate for these negative trends by hiring greater shares of credentialed teachers to keep up with their wealthier counterparts, and we know that doing so would be extremely unlikely. In practice, the teacher shortage manifests in schools as an inability to be staffed adequately. And for any reason or combination of reasons—insufficient teachers coming into teaching, excessive numbers of teachers quitting the profession because of worsening working conditions, etc.

Coalition focuses on recruitment and retention of teachers

This report focuses on the challenges schools face filling their vacancies or meeting their staffing needs primarily due to two trends: more teachers leaving schools and the profession and fewer people entering the teaching profession. It also raises three concerns on top of the leakage of teachers from the profession and the dwindling pool or potential new teachers. First is the potential change or decline in the qualifications of the teaching workforce, driven by increased churn turnover and attrition in the teacher labor market, by changes in the strength of the teaching preparation programs, by alterations in the requirements to accessing an initial teaching credential, and by the slight loss of credentialed teachers who leave the profession.

Second is the increased difficulty that schools are having filling vacancies, which in turn has increased the pressure on schools to hire teachers with fewer credentials and thus affected the overall qualifications of the teaching workforce. In our next reports, we will discuss the factors that make it hard for schools—and especially for high poverty schools—to attract and retain teachers, and, relatedly, why teachers want to leave the profession and why people are less inclined to pursue a teaching career in the first place.

In brief, we will show that the supply of new teachers is not meeting the demand at least in part because teacher pay and working conditions and the prestige of teaching are deteriorating. We argue that policymakers are failing to meet the needs of their constituents by failing to address the factors that are prompting teachers to quit and dissuading people from entering the profession, by underestimating what this job involves and by not supporting efforts to professionalize teaching. Her research focuses on the production of education cognitive and noncognitive skills ; evaluation of educational interventions early childhood, K—12, and higher education ; equity; returns to education; teacher labor markets; and cost-effectiveness and cost—benefit analysis in education.

She received her Ph. BBA promoted a comprehensive, evidence-based set of policies to allow all children to thrive in school and life. Weiss has coauthored and authored EPI and BBA reports on early achievement gaps and the flaws in market-oriented education reforms. She has a Ph.

The authors are grateful to Lora Engdahl for her edits to this piece and for her extraordinary help and contributions to structuring the contents of this series of papers. We are also thankful to John Schmitt for his supervision of this project and to Lawrence Mishel for his guidance in earlier stages of the development of this research. We acknowledge Julia Wolfe for her assistance with the tables and figures in this report, Kayla Blado for her work disseminating the report and her assistance with the media, John Carlo Mandapat for the infographic that accompanies this report, and the rest of the communications staff at EPI for their contributions to the different components of this report and the teacher shortage series.

The surveys collect data on and from teachers, principals, and schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Census Bureau for the U. Department of Education. The TFS survey, which is the source of data on teachers who stay or quit, was conducted a year after the — SASS survey to collect information on the employment and teaching status, plans, and opinions of teachers in the SASS.

Following the first administration of the NTPS, no follow-up study was done, preventing us from conducting an updated analysis of teachers by teaching status the year after the NTPS. In the tables consulted, the information is available from to —, which we reproduce in the appendix.

In the body of the report, we focus on academic years — and — the first year serves as a pre-recession marker and allows us to match it with the eldest information available in the Title II data see below ; — allows us to match it with the most recent NTPS data. The tables consulted are:. Department of Education The U. Department of Education e in the references section. Specific spreadsheets used are:. Teaching status is determined by the reported status of teachers in the Teacher Follow-up Survey conducted for the — school year, one year after the Schools and Staffing Survey.

Teachers who quit are those who generated a vacancy in the — school year and are not in the profession they left teaching, were on long-term leave, or were deceased.

Teachers’ Voices Across the Pipeline

Department of Education , Table IHEs offer traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs. Notes: Data are for teachers in public noncharter schools. Not included in the table are teachers who generated a vacancy in the school year but remained in the profession i.


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  • Teacher demand-side drivers are linked to the need for teachers, i. Supply-side drivers are linked to the number of qualified people who are available and willing to teach, i.

    Teacher Retention, Mobility, and Attrition: Understanding Terminology

    Sorensen and Ladd note that class sizes did not generally increase as a result of high teacher turnover in North Carolina, likely because of state policies that preclude increasing class size to accommodate teacher vacancies. On average, across math and English language arts ELA classes in middle school, Licensure exam scores of middle school math and ELA teachers are, on average, 0. This perspective reduces pressure to adopt policies that encourage the retention of teachers, overlooking the trade-off between the qualifications and quality of teachers who leave and those who come Sorensen and Ladd Notwithstanding this evidence of the short-term decrease in people awarded teaching degrees or completing teacher preparation programs, Cowan et al.

    Indeed, the short-term trend is one in which the number of pupils increased, so unless there is an intention to scale back staffing, any decline of the teacher pool is problematic. Traditional teacher preparation programs are typically undergraduate programs offered by institutions of higher education IHEs and entered into by individuals who enter college with the goal of becoming a teacher U. For main differences between traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs, see U. Department of Education and U. The requirements for alternative routes to a teaching certificate vary significantly across states.

    Teachers from alternative routes have been found to be more effective in some studies Xu, Hannaway, and Taylor , as effective as teachers from traditional programs in other research Whitford, Zhang, and Katsiyannis , Clark et al. These factors, which differ across schools, may point to greater difficulties hiring in some schools, but our data do not allow us to explore vacancies that arise due to curriculum changes and other factors mentioned in this note.

    A school may end up filling in a vacancy in a temporary manner, or may make some adjustment to cover the vacancy, for example by expanding a class size or finding an underprepared teacher. See Ingersoll for a comparison of attrition among teachers and their peers in most occupations discussed later in this report.