7 thoughts on “Why Charter Schools Have High Teacher Turnover

  1. I was a teacher in one of the charter schools towards the lower end of the spectrum (about 30%) turnover. It felt like a lot more than 30%. The best teachers were always leaving after a few years. I cannot overstate what a profoundly negative impact this has on students, both psychologically and academically.

    I, and many of my friends, left for several reasons. Some of them are the same as the reasons so many people leave teaching in general. Frustration over a lack of respect from students, parents, and administrators was a key factor. However, the main factors were specific to the charter movement. We did not have a real contract; our jobs had to be ‘renewed’ every year. As a result we had no job security. I saw may teachers ‘let go.’ We also had poor medical benefits, no tenure, no union, no pension, and poor pay with little or no increase from year to year.

    The charter schools will encounter high turnover rates until these problems are dealt with.

  2. Pingback: Merryl Tisch Suggests Firing A Lot of Black and Hispanic Teachers | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

  3. Merry Tisch’s analysis of data regarding African American teachers and who needs to be fired is rather interesting and racist. I’ve worked with African American and Hispanic teachers who far exceed their Caucasian counterparts in our classrooms. Perhaps more Caucasian teachers need to be fired. Just because fewer African American and Hispanic teachers are in communities with low poverty doesn’t mean that those teachers are less qualified than their Caucasian counterparts who work in schools with less social and psychological challenges. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that teachers will perform better when their students perform better. We need a different approach to failing schools.

  4. Please accept a correction to the previous post…..it should read, “Just because fewer African American and Hispanic teachers are in communities with low poverty doesn’t mean that the teachers of that demographic who work in schools with high poverty are less qualified or less effective.” Just because there are more African American and Hispanic teachers in high poverty schools is not a cause in and of itself for the poor performance of students in those schools. Removing educators of color or of African decent is not the “silver bullet” that will improve student academic outcomes in high poverty communities.

  5. I worked at a neighborhood public high highschool in a high poverty area in Gary, In. Most of my co-workers were anti charter and I didn’t understand why. My home state Accross the boarder had a few charters but not as many.

    I came here to a southern state and was cut from my position at a neighborhood public school; or my position was cut—-arts, electives; that’s another discussion–

    This school—the kids aren’t bad; they’re extremely busy…..
    That’s their issue—but our issue as a scho–when the kids do something wrong, they get some watered down consequence that isn’t worth anything;
    When the kids do something right; almost NOTHING happens for them…..all this while he principal yells at staff to incentivize kids, while also yelling about kids not being in straight lines(middle schoolers) while also yelling about teachers not having agendas up; while NEVER appreciating (in actuality) all that we do right; while but picking at every single solitary little bullshit thing you can imagine……and when I say YELLING– that’s exactly what I mean—– YELLING AND SCREAMING—
    At staff members; grown people, adults, professionals, with degrees, a few with licenses and advanced degrees—-
    Yelling at teachers in front of kids……
    This is how he rolls.
    Although that doesn’t mean all charters are that way—–the fact is there’s a reason why neighborhood public schools don’t see allot of that—_because they have unions and principals wouldn’t dare.
    Not this dude.
    We don’t have a union.
    Teachers are scared.
    So they continuously put up with this bullshit.
    This has made me want to walk away from teaching in the classroom indefinitely.
    Being real.
    Almost all the middle school teachers are leaving. This is exactly why. The kids are challenging but he’s the real cause.
    Him and his team blame teachers when students act out. That’s their MO. To them if you’re not constantly on top of the kid screaming at them and repeating yourself to get them to do the thing you want them to do (like kids are robots and not people who can chose to do something or not) then it’s your fault—you let it happen.

    When I first got there; the desks I had were horrible; ripped up; the assistant principal blames the last teacher that left. I said “who sits here and pulls the top layer of a desk up?” His response “what teacher allows it?” As if that’s somehow normal behavior for kids…..as if those kids don’t know jay nothing’s gonna happen to them—at all……
    I’m done with this school. I don’t know what’s gonna happen next year. I might just leave the field of classroom teaching all together.
    But this charter world where principals threaten to write people up every 10 seconds for stupid stuff that’s completely and totally beyond their control—knowing damn good and well he’s not going to because he has to be able to prove too much in order to write anyone up—-which basically means he’s purposefully bullying people……
    Which creates a horrible environment for learning.
    This is a form of abuse. Honestly if this continues much more I may file a complaint on him. But anyways…..
    some of that is school—and some of it is the land of charters. If I am teaching next year, it won’t be there…at all.

  6. Excellent Article. I’m doing research in this area and find it very difficult to get data on teacher retention from many charter schools.

  7. I currently work in a charter school that is undergoing a high turnover rate in only its third year in. The school declassified many IEP students to fit them into the classrooms the school can provide them. So many classes has children that need 12 to 1 to 1 in general class settings or in ICT. Also many disruptive behavior that results in the child being placed in another class instead of suspension. When disruptive behavior occurs they do a process where they ask you as a teacher what did you do to aggravate the child. One teacher had a student that would throw things,punch kids, and threaten to stab and would only get pulled out on a case by case basis and brought back in. Eventually leading to the child punching, throwing things and hitting the teacher while she taught and when she reached her limit they ask what did she do to get the child to act this way. She had to explain her actions- asking him to put his stuff away. As a teacher you start to feel ineffective.

    To top it off longer school day, no union, no pension, lackluster benefits contribute to many leaving. They had a program where they will pay for teachers still needing to take the teaching certification exams and help pay teachers going back to school. However in the middle of the year they took the benefit away with no mention, right before the spring semester in school, leading many teachers to pay out of pocket last minute. Through it all the workload is immense then that of public schools and every detail in the classroom is micromanaged.

    As a whole many teachers that are brand new burn out fast and stress is high. Veteran teachers find themselves trying to meet ever growing expectations and never being enough with the threat of being fired for any reason looming overhead. All leads to a poor school atmosphere and poor teacher satisfaction and high turnover.

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