Teacher Turnover and Access to Effective Teachers in the School District of Philadelphia

Teacher Turnover and Access to Effective Teachers in the School District of Philadelphia

REL 2020-037
Published: Sep 16, 2020
Publisher: Regional Educational Laboratory Mid‑Atlantic

Erin Dillon

Key Findings
  • Effective teachers were distributed unevenly throughout the district, but gaps in access to effective teachers differed for different measures of teacher effectiveness.
  • On average, 25 percent of teachers left their school each year, with most of these teachers changing schools within the district (17 percent) rather than leaving the district (8 percent).
  • Teacher grade level taught, attendance, race/ethnicity, prior school changes, effectiveness score, and school climate had the strongest relationships with teacher turnover. After other factors related to turnover were accounted for, teachers of middle school grades, teachers who were frequently absent, and teachers who identified as Black were more likely to leave their school. Teachers who had previously changed schools, teachers who had lower effectiveness scores, and teachers in schools with a poorer school climate were also more likely to leave.

Teacher turnover can be expensive and disruptive to schools and students and can reduce access to effective teachers. A new REL Mid-Atlantic report examines access to effective teachers, factors related to teacher turnover, and the role of turnover in the equitable distribution of effective teachers in the School District of Philadelphia. The study examined teachers who taught kindergarten through grade 12 in school years 2010/11 through 2016/17.

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