Teachers at charter schools (independently operated government funded schools) in the United States are three times more likely to leave the profession or change schools than teachers in the traditional public school system.
This is the startling finding of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association this month.
In the charter schools, nearly a quarter of the teachers ended up leaving by the end of the school year, 14 percent of them leaving the field altogether and 11 percent transferring to another school. By comparison, the average turnover rate in the regular public schools in the same states was around 14 percent. Half the departing teachers were leavers and half were switchers.
The study by researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville found that the higher turnover rates are due in part to the fact that charter school teachers are, on average, younger and less likely to hold regular teaching certificates. The paper found no linkage between higher turnover and charter schools’ personnel policies that make it easier to get rid of under-performing teachers.
The study used federal data from the 2003-04 school year on 14,428 teachers from charter schools and traditional public schools in 16 states.
There was little difference in turnover rates between charter schools managed by private outside providers and those managed by some other entity.
The researchers said that their findings could help explain why research so far has failed to turn up any consistent advantages for charter schools in terms of student achievement.
For further details see Inside School Research blog