Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What if charter schools had been included in the study?

Last month, the Consortium on Chicago School Research came out with its report, "The Schools Teachers Leave: Teacher Mobility in Chicago Public Schools," revealing CPS's chronically high rates of teacher turnover, especially in schools serving low-income, African-American children.

You may remember that the study failed to include any data from Chicago charter schools. Even without that data, CPS still showed an alarmingly high teacher attrition rate. Chicago schools, under the Duncan regime, lost more than half of all their teachers within five years -- and about two-thirds of their new ones.

One researcher later told me that such data was never made available by the charters nor by CPS. Part of the problem, it seems, was the cheating that went on at the time, with Duncan circumventing the charter law by allowing charter management organizations to operate nearly 50 schools under 27 charters. As a consequence, data collection on each school was made extremely difficult.

Many of us wondered at the time, how much worse Chicago's teacher attrition rate might have looked had charters been included in the study? Some indications might be found in this national study by two Vanderbilt researchers and mentioned back in April in Debra Viadero's Edweek blog, showing that the
odds that a teacher in a charter school will leave the profession are 230 percent greater than the odds that a teacher in a traditional public school in their state will do so.

Other studies show about 40% of new charter school teachers leaving the profession. That's about twice the rate of regular public school teachers.

1 comment:

  1. 230% greater!! I started at a Charter school in Charlotte, NC which was about the worst place to begin a teaching career. It took all of me to stay with teaching at the school I moved to a year later, if I went back there now, even though it would take a while to find a group of committed professionals, I could thrive there.


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