Giving Compass’ Take:
• A new Bellwether analysis studies DC Public Schools exit surveys to understand the reasoning behind why high performing teachers are leaving the district. The study also pulls together strategies that educators can take to retain teachers based on their conclusions of the main problems teachers are experiencing.
• How can we prioritize the needs of teachers especially in public schools that go underfunded and overlooked? Would this require a cultural shift in how we think about education and those who work in the education system?
In a new Bellwether analysis, we studied DC Public Schools’ teacher exit survey data to figure out why teachers were leaving the district, where they were going, and what DCPS could have done to keep them. By disaggregating the responses by teachers’ latest performance ratings, we were able to zero in on potential strategies for retaining the best educators in the district.
The top job-related reason highly effective teachers cited for leaving was work-life balance. This makes sense: Good teaching is hard, and it’s even harder in a district where 3 out of 4 students are economically disadvantaged. The second most common factor was school leadership. However, the third factor intrigued us. Fifteen percent of highly effective teachers left the district to pursue a leadership opportunity somewhere else. These are educators who want to grow in their profession and take on more responsibility as they gain proficiency.
Still, we were able to identify some potential strategies for keeping the best educators in the district:
- Give experienced teachers more options for extended leave and part-time employment.
- Make sure school leaders show encouragement and recognition, and provide behavioral and instructional support.
- Pay attention to what high-performing teachers want and where they go when they leave, to learn about specific changes or incentives that would retain them.
- Don’t focus on retaining potential career changers, as most say there was nothing the district could have done to retain them.
- Market opportunities for leadership toward teachers of color and address potential bias when hiring for leadership positions.
Read the full article about retaining teachers by Kaitlin Pennington and Alexander Brand at The 74
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