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Hire Today, Gone Tomorrow: The Determinants of Attrition among Public School Teachers

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  • Feng, Li
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Abstract

Increases in the school-age population, maximum class size requirements in various states and the No Child Left Behind Act’s mandate of a “highly qualified teacher” in every classroom collectively will increase the demand for teachers. However, public school teachers are exiting the profession in large numbers. This poses a serious challenge for policymakers. In this paper I analyze the determinants of teacher attrition using matched teacher-student class-level information for all Florida public school teachers. In addition to teacher demographics and school characteristics employed in previous studies, I include a number of variables measuring the characteristics of the specific students assigned to each teacher. The results indicate that classroom characteristics, such as students’ performance on standardized tests and the average number of disciplinary incidents, play a larger role than school average student characteristics in determining teacher attrition. Teacher pay has a positive influence on retention, while the results for class size are mixed. There is also some evidence that more able teachers are more likely to exit the teaching profession. These findings suggest that in addition to salary, classroom assignment is an important factor when considering policies to promote teacher retention and teacher quality.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 589.

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Date of creation: 09 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:589

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Keywords: Teacher Turnover; Classroom Environment; Students' Test Scores;

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References

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  1. Podgursky, Michael & Monroe, Ryan & Watson, Donald, 2004. "The academic quality of public school teachers: an analysis of entry and exit behavior," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 507-518, October.
  2. Hanushek, Eric A. & Pace, Richard R., 1995. "Who chooses to teach (and why)?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 101-117, June.
  3. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
  4. Murnane, Richard J & Olsen, Randall J, 1989. "The Effects of Salaries and Opportunity Costs on Duration in Teaching: Evidence from Michigan," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 347-52, May.
  5. Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2002. "An Analysis of Occupational Change and Departure from the Labor Force: Evidence of the Reasons that Teachers Leave," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 192-216.
  6. Murnane, Richard J & Olsen, Randall J, 1989. "Will There Be Enough Teachers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 242-46, May.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & EJohn F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2004. "Why Public Schools Lose Teachers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  8. Todd R. Stinebrickner, 1999. "Estimation Of A Duration Model In The Presence Of Missing Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 529-542, August.
  9. Dale Ballou & Michael Podgursky, 1998. "Teacher recruitment and retention in public and private schools," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 393-417.
  10. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
  11. Imazeki, Jennifer, 2005. "Teacher salaries and teacher attrition," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 431-449, August.
  12. Stinebrickner, Todd R, 2001. "A Dynamic Model of Teacher Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 196-230, January.
  13. Mont, Daniel & Rees, Daniel I, 1996. "The Influence of Classroom Characteristics on High School Teacher Turnover," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(1), pages 152-67, January.
  14. Brewer, Dominic J, 1996. "Career Paths and Quit Decisions: Evidence from Teaching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 313-39, April.
  15. Ballou, Dale, 1996. "Do Public Schools Hire the Best Applicants?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 97-133, February.
  16. Donald Boyd & Hamilton Lankford & Susanna Loeb & James Wyckoff, 2005. "Explaining the Short Careers of High-Achieving Teachers in Schools with Low-Performing Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 166-171, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Douglas Harris & Tim R. Sass, 2006. "The Effects of Teacher Training on Teacher Value Added," Working Papers, Department of Economics, Florida State University wp_2006_03_01, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  2. Winters, Marcus A. & Dixon, Bruce L. & Greene, Jay P., 2012. "Observed characteristics and teacher quality: Impacts of sample selection on a value added model," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 19-32.

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