The Alliance for Excellent Education report: Teacher turnover high in low income schools

24 Jul

Melanie Smollin has an excellent post at Take Part, Five Reasons Why Teacher Turnover Is On The Rise:

With approximately 1.6 million teachers set to retire in the next decade, replenishing America’s teaching force should be a top priority. But filling classrooms with new teachers is only half the battle. Retaining them is equally important.
Numerous studies show that teachers perform best after being in the classroom for at least five years. According to a McKinsey study, 14 percent of American teachers leave after only one year, and 46 percent quit before their fifth year. In countries with the highest results on international tests, teacher turnover rates are much lower—around 3 percent.
This constant cycling in and out of new teachers is a costly phenomena. Students miss being taught by experienced educators, and schools and districts nationwide spend about $2.2 billion per year recruiting and training replacements.
Why are so many new teachers fleeing the profession after so few years in the classroom? Here are the top five reasons teacher turnover is an ongoing challenge:
5. BURNOUT: A recent U.C. Berkeley study of Los Angeles charter schools found unusually high rates of teacher turnover. At the 163 charter schools studied, teacher turnover hovered around 40 percent, compared to 15 percent at traditional public schools.
Since demands on charter school educators are seemingly boundless, including extended hours, researchers theorized, burnout is a viable explanation for the teacher exodus. “We have seen earlier results showing that working conditions are tough and challenging in charter schools,” explained U.C. Berkeley’s Bruce Fuller. “Charter teachers wear many hats and have many duties and are teaching urban kids, challenging urban kids, but we were surprised by the magnitude of this effect.”
4.THREAT OF LAYOFFS: In response to annual budget shortfalls, districts nationwide have sent pink slips to tens of thousands of teachers each spring for the past four years. In 2011, California sent out 30,000….
3. LOW WAGES: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said that teachers should earn between $60,000 and $150,000 per year. That’s a far cry from the current national average starting salary for teachers, which is $35,139….
2. TESTING PRESSURE: Since the No Child Left Behind Act was introduced in 2001, standardized test scores in math and reading have become the most important accountability measure used to evaluate schools.
Studies show that pressure to raise student test scores causes teachers to experience more stress and less job satisfaction. Many educators resent narrowing curriculum and stifling creativity in favor of teaching to the test.
On the National Center for Education Information’s “Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011,” the majority of comments submitted by survey respondents were “expressions of strong opposition to the current emphasis on student testing.”
As states increasingly rely on standardized test scores to evaluate individual educators, determine teacher pay and make lay-off decisions, testing pressure will only increase.
1. POOR WORKING CONDITIONS: When the Gates foundation polled 40,000 teachers about job satisfaction, the majority agreed that supportive leadership, time for collaboration, access to high quality curriculum and resources, clean and safe buildings, and relevant professional development were even more important than higher salaries.
But working conditions in many public schools remain far from this ideal—especially for beginning teachers, who are most likely to be assigned to the highest-need schools. Despite the added challenges they face, these teachers are often given few resources and little professional support. http://www.takepart.com/article/2011/08/09/five-reasons-teacher-turnover-rise

Since many teachers will be leaving the profession in the next few years, the question is what effect teacher departures have on students and are there traits of teachers who choose to remain in the classroom which should be studied.

Alexandria Neason of Hechinger Report wrote in the Huffington Post article, Half Of Teachers Leave The Job After Five Years. Here’s What To Do About It:

A new report, published by the Alliance in collaboration with the New Teacher Center (NTC), a non-profit that helps schools and policymakers develop training for new educators, found that about 13 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers move schools or leave the profession every year, costing states up to $2 billion. Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.
A new report, published by the Alliance in collaboration with the New Teacher Center (NTC), a non-profit that helps schools and policymakers develop training for new educators, found that about 13 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers move schools or leave the profession every year, costing states up to $2 billion. Researchers estimate that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years.
The high turnover rates are sometimes due to layoffs, “but the primary reason they leave is because they’re dissatisfied,” said Richard Ingersoll, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose research on teacher retention was published in the report. Teachers say they leave because of inadequate administrative support and isolated working conditions, among other things. These losses disproportionately affect high-poverty, urban and rural schools, where teaching staffs often lack experience.
A Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) report found that schools serving low-income, minority students turn over half of their staffs every three years, deepening the divide between poor and wealthy students to the most experienced teachers.
But the new report says poor retention isn’t a commitment problem. It’s a support problem… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/23/teacher-turnover-rate_n_5614972.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education#es_share_ended

Here is the press release from The Alliance for Excellent Education:

July 17, 2014
Press Release:
Teacher Attrition Costs United States Up to $2.2 Billion Annually, Says New Alliance Report
Report Includes State-by-State Teacher Attrition Costs, Says Comprehensive Induction Programs Can Improve Teaching Effectiveness and Retain High-Quality Teachers
WASHINGTON, DC – Roughly half a million U.S. teachers either move or leave the profession each year—attrition that costs the United States up to $2.2 billion annually, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education. This high turnover rate disproportionately affects high-poverty schools and seriously compromises the nation’s capacity to ensure that all students have access to skilled teaching, says On the Path to Equity: Improving the Effectiveness of Beginning Teachers.
“Teacher attrition hits states and school districts in the wallet, but students and teachers pay the real price,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “The monetary cost of teacher attrition pales in comparison to the loss of human potential associated with hard-to-staff schools that disproportionately serve low-income students and students of color. In these schools, poor learning climates and low achievement often result in students—and teachers—leaving in droves.”
The report cites the well-established principle that teaching quality is the most powerful school-based factor in student learning—one that outweighs students’ social and economic background in accounting for differences in student learning. It also notes that chronic gaps remain in disadvantaged students’ access to effective teaching—a scenario that unmistakably harms students, but also has an impact on teachers.
Without access to excellent peers, mentors, and opportunities for collaboration and feedback, teachers’ performance in high-poverty schools plateaus after a few years and both morale and work environment suffer. Ultimately, the report notes, these hard-to-staff schools become known as “places to leave, not places in which to stay.” According to the report, high-poverty schools experience a teacher turnover rate of about 20 percent per calendar year—roughly 50 percent higher than the rate in more affluent schools.
To calculate the cost of teacher attrition, the Alliance worked with Richard Ingersoll, professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to the national figure, Ingersoll also provides cost estimates for all fifty states and the District of Columbia that range between roughly $2 million in Delaware, Vermont, and Wyoming and up to $235 million in Texas.
Teachers leave their profession for a variety of reasons, including inadequate administrative support, isolated working conditions, poor student discipline, low salaries, and a lack of collective teacher influence over schoolwide decisions. Turnover is especially high among new teachers, with 40 to 50 percent leaving the profession after five years, according to research cited in the report.
To curb turnover—especially among new teachers—the report recommends a comprehensive induction program comprised of multiple types of support, including high-quality mentoring, common planning times, and ongoing support from school leaders. Teachers who receive such support have higher levels of job satisfaction, rate higher in their classroom teaching practices, and are associated with higher levels of student achievement. Unfortunately, only about half of novice teachers receive mentoring from a teacher in their teaching field or have common planning time with other teachers.
The good news is that multiple initiatives are now under way to develop professional standards for beginning teachers, strengthen preparation, and shape strategies to address the developmental needs of teachers throughout their careers. The report highlights the work of the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Santa Cruz, California that partners with states, districts, and policymakers and has established a well-designed, evidence-based induction model for beginning teachers that increases teacher retention, improves classroom effectiveness, and advances student learning.
NTC also partners with states and districts to report data on teaching and learning conditions using its Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (TELL) survey to help states develop policies and practices that connect related factors, such as school leadership, teaching, and learning conditions, and specific educator policies.
On the Path to Equity cautions that policies to improve teaching effectiveness are complex and depend on individual teachers’ abilities as well as the working conditions within schools. It adds that systemic approaches are needed to reverse the inequities in the distribution of teaching talent and to foster school environments that support the kind of ongoing, intensive professional learning that positively impacts student learning. To this end, the report offers five policy recommendations for states and districts:
• Require regular evaluations of teachers using multiple measures.
• Develop systems to encourage high-quality educator development and teaching.
• Require comprehensive induction programs for new teachers.
• Embed analysis and improvement of teaching and learning conditions.
• Support staff selection and professional growth systems that foster collegial collaboration.
“To fundamentally transform education and help students meet the higher performance required by the Common Core State Standards and other college- and career-ready standards, the culture of how teachers are supported must change,” said Wise. “Such a change requires new initiatives and structures to attract, develop, and retain the best teaching talent in high schools serving students with the greatest needs, as well as a system that ensures that new teachers receive comprehensive induction and access to school-based collaborative learning.”
On the Path to Equity includes a state-by-state breakdown detailing the number of teachers leaving the profession, as well as a low and high estimate of teacher attrition costs. It is available at http://www.all4ed.org/reports-factsheets/path-to-equity.
At 1:00 p.m. (EDT) today, the Alliance will hold a video webinar on the report that will feature Mariana Haynes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Alliance for Excellent Education; Terry Holliday, PhD, Commissioner of Education, Kentucky Department of Education; Richard Ingersoll, PhD, Professor of Education and Sociology, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania; and Ellen Moir, Executive Director, New Teacher Center. RSVP to watch the webinar at http://all4ed.org/webinar-event/jul-17-2014/.
###
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. http://www.all4ed.org
Categories: Education and the Economy, Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Preparation, Teacher Quality, Teachers & Leaders

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques. Teachers must be compensated fairly for their work. Dave Eggers and NÍnive Clements Calegari have a provocative New York Times article, The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/opinion/01eggers.html?_r=0 The Center for American Progress has a report by Frank Adamson and Linda Darling Hammond, Speaking of Salaries: What It Will Take to Get Qualified, Effective Teachers In All Communities http://americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2011/05/20/9638/speaking-of-salaries/

Resources:

No Child Left Behind A Parents Guide
http://ed.gov/parents/academic/involve/nclbguide/parentsguide.pdf

MSNBC video: Why Do Good Teachers Leave? http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/46622232/#46622232

Debate: Are Teachers’ Unions the Problem—or the Answer?
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/03/18/debate-are-teachers-unions-the-problem-or-the-answer.html

Quiet Riot: Insurgents Take On Teachers’ Unions
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2087980,00.html#ixzz1zgjC7qGS

Can Teachers Unions Do Education Reform?
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204124204577151254006748714.htm

Let a New Teacher-Union Debate Begin
http://educationnext.org/let-a-new-teacher-union-debate-begin/#.Ujthycb-osY.email

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