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Document Number: 5658

Why Do High-Poverty Schools Have Difficulty Staffing Their Classrooms with Qualified Teachers? - Drawing from the large national Schools and Staffing Survey and the Teacher Follow-up Survey, the researcher observes that while student enrollments (and the attendant need for teachers) have grown since 1984, pre-retirement turnover and not student enrollment and teacher retirement increases, as commonly assumed is the primary cause for hiring new teachers. The report points out that while some teacher turnover is normal and inevitable, it also can lead to a deterioration in social cohesion and, subsequently, performance. The author reports the reasons teachers cite for leaving the profession and their frequency in rural vs. urban high-poverty schools, the policy implications of teacher turnover and recommendations from teachers leaving the classroom on ways to stem the exodus. Their suggestions? Better student discipline ranked high among urban educators, while better pay was cited by rural and urban teachers alike. (Richard M. Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania, November 2004)...

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