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2005 Spotlight

Mobility in the Teacher Workforce

How Do Turnover Rates Differ by School Control and Poverty?

Between the 1999–2000 and 2000–01 school years, private schools lost a greater percentage of teachers than public schools (21 vs. 15 percent) (figure 7). This difference is reflected in the fact that a greater percentage of private school teachers than public school teachers left teaching for another job (7 vs. 3 percent), further schooling (0.7 vs. 0.3 percent), and family reasons (3 vs. 1 percent). However, public schools lost a greater percentage of teachers to retirement than private schools (2 vs. 1 percent). The proportion of public and private school teachers who transferred to another school was not discernibly different (both about 8 percent). However, public and private school teachers differed in where they moved: the majority of public school teachers who transferred moved to another public school—either one within their school district (45 percent of the transfers of public school teachers) or to a public school in another district (53 percent) (data not shown). Only 2 percent of public school teachers who transferred moved to private schools, whereas 53 percent of their private school counterparts moved to public schools (data not shown).

The apparent difference between the rate of total teacher turnover in low- and high-poverty public schools (14 vs. 18 percent) was not statistically significant due to the small sample size and large standard errors (figure 8). However, the nature of this turnover in these schools differed markedly in one respect: teachers in high-poverty public schools were about twice as likely to move to another school as their counterparts in low-poverty public schools (10 vs. 5 percent).32 This higher rate of transferring out of high-poverty schools than out of low-poverty schools is consistent with research that has found that teachers in Texas tend to move from high- to lower-poverty schools (Hanushek, Kain, and Rivkin 2004). However, TFS data cannot reveal if this is the case nationally because these data only reveal which schools teachers left from, they do not reveal which schools teachers moved to.


32Teachers who left low-poverty schools also were more likely to do so for family reasons than teachers who left high-poverty schools (1.7 vs. 0.4 percent). But none of the other apparent differences between low- and high-poverty public school leavers were statistically significant due to the small sample size and large standard errors. (back to text)

Figures and Tables

Figure 7: Percentage of 1999–2000 public and private K–12 teachers who did not teach in the same school the following school year, by control of school and the reason teachers left

Figure 8: Percentage of 1999–2000 public K–12 teachers who did not teach in the same school the following school year, by poverty level of school and the reason teachers left

Table SA12: Standard errors for figure 7: Percentage of 1999–2000 public and private K–12 teachers who did not teach in the same school the following school year, by control of school and the reason teachers left

Table SA13: Standard errors for figure 8: Percentage of 1999–2000 public K–12 teachers who did not teach in the same school the following school year, by poverty level of school and the reason teachers left

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