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2005 Spotlight

Mobility in the Teacher Workforce

How Do the Proportions of New Hires Differ by School Control and Poverty?

Previous research has found higher rates of teacher turnover among private school teachers than public school teachers and has suggested that public schools with higher percentages of poor students have greater difficulty retaining teachers than schools with relatively few poor students (Broughman and Rollefson 2000; Ingersoll 2001, pp. 16–17). To investigate how these factors are related to the rate at which a school hires new teachers, this special analysis compared the proportions of new hires in publicly controlled and privately controlled schools and in low- and high-poverty public schools.23 Schools were considered low poverty if less than 15 percent of their students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and high poverty if 75 percent or more of their students were eligible.24 This special analysis could not examine the poverty differences in private schools because a large proportion of private schools do not participate in the free or reduced-price lunch program.25 The differences between the proportions of new hires in public and private schools indicate that private schools are more likely to hire brand-new teachers than public schools; however, no such difference was detectable between low- and high-poverty public schools.26

During the 1999–2000 school year, public school teachers were more likely than private school teachers to have continued to teach in the same school in which they had taught the previous year (84 vs. 77 percent) (figure 4).

Thus, there was a smaller percentage of new hires in the ranks of public school teachers than private school teachers (16 vs. 23 percent). There were also differences between public and private school teachers in the proportions of the different categories of new hires: a greater percentage of public school teachers than private school teachers were transfers from another school (9 vs. 7 percent), while three times as many private school teachers as public school teachers were returning teachers (9 vs. 3 percent). Overall, a smaller percentage of public school teachers than private school teachers were brand-new teachers (4 vs. 6 percent).

In both low- and high-poverty public schools, the average percentage of new hires was about the same (about 15 percent each), and new hires differed only in the percentage of delayed entrants hired by each kind of school (figure 5). No other apparent differences, including those for transfers, were measurable, and the overall percentage of brand-new teachers in low- and high-poverty public schools was about the same (4 vs. 5 percent).27


23The small sample size for private school teachers and for low- and high-poverty public school teachers precludes further in-depth analysis of these categories of teachers. (back to text)

24These categories for low- and high-poverty schools are the lowest and highest of five categories that The Condition of Education uses standardly in analyses in order to permit comparisons across indicators. For this special analysis, all five categories were examined, but the only significant differences were between the highest and lowest categories. (back to text)

25About 24 percent of private schools answered “don’t know” when asked whether any students in their school were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. (back to text)

26Differences by region and community type were analyzed, but few differences were measurable. Moreover, differences that were measurable were less informative than differences by school control and poverty. See table SA-1 for further details. (back to text)

27Differences between the aggregate percentages in the text and the percentages for the constitutive categories in figure 5 are due to rounding.

Figures and Tables

Figure 4: Percentage distribution of K–12 teachers by their employment background, by control of school: 1999–2000

Figure 5: Percentage distribution of public K–12 school teachers by their employment background, by poverty of school: 1999–2000

Table SA7: Standard errors for figure 4: Percentage distribution of K–12 teachers by their employment background, by control of school: 1999–2000

Table SA8: Standard errors for figure 5: Percentage distribution of public K–12 school teachers by their employment background, by poverty of school: 1999–2000

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education