Skip to content

Teacher Turnover High at ‘Takeover Schools’

This article presents an analysis, based on School District data, of the rates of teacher turnover between June and September 2002 at schools assigned by the School Reform Commission to some form of special intervention. (Interventions include management by for-profit educational management organizations (EMOs), nonprofit entities, the District’s Office of Restructure Schools (ORS), or conversion to charters.) The author reports that teacher turnover increased dramatically at schools receiving all forms of intervention. Compounding this problem, the high-poverty schools, especially middle schools, represented in this study, typically have higher teacher turnover than the District average. During 2002-2003, the district-wide teacher turnover rate was 12 percent, whereas many of the schools targeted for reforms already had turnover rates of at least 15-20%. Teacher flight in advance of changes in management was especially severe at schools assigned to external managers (Edison, increase from 19 % to 40%; Victory, 17%-40%, and Universal, 14%-36%) and schools designated to become charters (increase from 17% to 47%, with two of the schools losing 80% of their teachers over the summer). As of April 15, 2003, the anticipated teacher vacancy rate at schools receiving intervention was more than twice the average rate for elementary and middle schools in the District. The author concludes that the actual teacher turnover that occurs will provide evidence about how teachers have assessed their experiences during the first year of the new interventions.