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Charter School Teachers Leave in Droves, Study Finds




Nearly 40 percent of newer charter school teachers flee for other jobs, according to a startling new study funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The study, Teacher Attrition in Charter Schools, by Gary Miron and Brooks Applegate of the Western Michigan University Evaluation Center, is based on the authors' analyses of data collected in surveys of charter school employees from around the country conducted from 1997 to 2006.

The study results indicate that as many as one out of every four charter school teachers leave each year, which is double the typical public school attrition rate (11 percent). Moreover, attrition among new teachers in charter schools is close to 40 percent annually, a figure that is critical for charter schools given that their percentage of teachers under 30 (37 percent) is more than three times that of traditional public schools (11 percent).

Miron and Applegate also noted that their study differs from most of the existing satisfaction research that often excludes from data collection efforts those teachers who are leaving or have left charter schools.

"The high attrition rates for teachers in charter schools constitute one of the greatest obstacles that will need to be overcome if the charter school reform is to deliver as promised," researchers point out. As a result, they recommend that:

  • Discrepancies between teachers' expectations for charter schools and those schools' realities should be identified, and strategies for narrowing the gaps should be designed and implemented.
  • Efforts should be made to strengthen teachers' sense of security as much as possible.
  • Efforts should be made to increase teachers' satisfaction with working conditions, salaries, benefits, administration, and governance.

Reference


Teacher Attrition in Charter Schools - Analyses of data collected in surveys of charter school employees from around the country conducted from 1997 to 2006.

June 2007