The Challenge of Teacher Retention in Urban Schools: Evidence of Variation from a Cross-Site Analysis
40 Pages Posted: 20 May 2015 Last revised: 1 Aug 2017
Date Written: February 2017
Substantial teacher turnover poses a challenge to staffing public schools with effective teachers. The scope of the teacher retention challenge across districts, however, remains poorly defined. Applying consistent data practices and analytical techniques to administrative datasets from 16 urban districts, we document substantial cross-district variation in teacher retention rates. Observable characteristics do not easily explain this cross-district variation. We also find considerable cross-district variation in key results from the retention literature, including the relationship between retention and both experience and estimated effectiveness. Finally, we explore the influence of temporary leaves of absence and cross-district, within-state movement on retention estimates. Accounting for cross-district movement matters little, while temporary leaves matter a great deal in many districts.
Keywords: teacher retention; teacher turnover; cross-site variation
JEL Classification: I21, J45
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation