Urban Texas Teacher Retention: Unbelievable Empirical Factors Tied to Urban Teacher Persistence and Retention
Teacher turnover in urban high-poverty schools is detrimental to students’ achievement. In fact, one of the most prevalent social justice issues today is the unequal distribution of experienced teachers to urban high-poverty schools. Researchers suggest that experienced teachers are more effective at raising student performance than new or early career teachers, thereby ensuring their students are equipped for life after high school. Unfortunately, teachers leaving the field is an oft-cited challenge for school leaders. This is true across the nation and has been described as a great challenge for urban districts in Texas where the teacher attrition rate is twice the national average. Decades of research on the topic suggests that workplace conditions, effective school leadership, professional support, and a culture of high expectations are inextricably tied to teacher retention in urban settings. However, Texas is a unique state with a range of resources and landscapes. Of the 1,200 independent school districts, 11 (less than 1%) are considered major urban districts. And yet, the 11 major urban districts employ almost 61,500 teachers (17.4% of the state teaching population) and work in 1,400 schools (16% of Texas schools). The purpose of this study was to identify factors empirically tied to teacher retention in the 11 major urban districts in Texas. Using a nonexperimental, retrospective research design, the authors collected and analyzed district-level data from the 2014-2015 Texas Academic Performance Report to identify specific factors that significantly contributed to teacher retention in urban Texas districts. The regression model identified four significant factors that contributed to the retention of urban teachers in Texas (district special education participation percentage, district teacher tenure average, new teachers, and percentage of students identified as at-risk). The findings suggest that higher percentages of special education and at-risk students contributed to retention while new teachers and average teacher tenure contributed to teacher attrition. Given the important role teachers play in student achievement, districts and campus leaders should continually consider new ways to develop, equip and retain urban teachers. Furthermore, this empirical research sheds light on previously unidentified factors that were found to influence teacher attrition and retention in urban school districts in Texas. Therefore, additional research in which districts and campus leaders continue to examine the relevance and effect of the factors identified in this study is needed to understand how these implications can potentially be generalized to other urban districts to support urban teacher retention and student achievement.
Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal (LICEJ)
Moore, L., Rosenblatt, K., Badgett, K., & Eldridge, J. (2018). Urban Texas Teacher Retention: Unbelievable Empirical Factors Tied to Urban Teacher Persistence and Retention.
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