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Expert Claims Teacher Turnover Costs Districts Over $2.2 Billion Per Year

 Expert Claims Teacher Turnover Costs Districts Over $2.2 Billion Per Year

Historically high teacher turnover is costing districts upwards of $2.2 billion per year, University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Richard Ingersoll said in an interview with NPR. 

One of American's largest occupation also has one of the highest turnover rates. Ingersoll argues that this is largely because "'[educators] feel they have no say in decisions that ultimately affect their teaching. In fact, this lack of classroom autonomy is now the biggest source of frustration for math teachers nationally," the article said.

Another factor that affects teacher retention, according to Ingersoll, is the school's ability to properly handle discipline and misbehavior from students. "And some schools do a far better job of dealing with it, coping with it and addressing it than other schools. And those schools that do a better job of coping with it have significantly better teacher retention. We have this finding that schools can manage behavioral issues in good ways or bad ways," he said.

Of course, not all turnover is bad. "You want fresh blood coming in. You want your lower performers hopefully to move on to greener pastures. Not all turnover is bad by any means."

But Ingersoll says it's crucial that in order to increase retention, it's important to not ignore it. He suggests one of the first steps to increase retention is to increase support for new teachers. "One growing genre of initiatives is the idea of supporting beginning teachers. Beginning teachers have the highest turnover rates. We generated data over a decade ago showing somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of those that go into teaching are gone within five years."

"One thing that we've found that's effective is freeing up time for the beginning teachers so that they can meet with other colleagues. And learn from them. And compare notes. And try to develop some kind of coherence of curriculum," he said.

He refers to this support system for new teachers as "induction," and says its "[t]o help them learn the ropes and get better and survive."

According to Ingersoll, induction is critical and can help in reducing the costs that come from turnover. More importantly, not only does it help increase retention across the nation, it has been linked to greater student achievement. "They also had a randomized-control trial that showed that student achievement was better for those beginning teachers that got some [induction]," he said.

Read the full story here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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