“The Revolving Door:” Identifying Causes of Teacher Turnover within a Charter Managing Organization
McCluskey, Matthew S.
While teacher turnover rates are high nationally, hovering around 16% (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013), dozens of studies have demonstrated that attrition and school-to-school migration are significantly higher among charter school teachers compared to traditional public school teachers (e.g. Harris, 2007; Miron & Applegate, 2007; Podgursky & Ballou, 2001; Renzulli, et al., 2011; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004; Stuit, & Smith, 2012). And further research on the subject suggests that teacher attrition is even higher within Charter Managing Organization (CMO)-based schools (e.g. Furgeson, et al., 2012; KIPP Foundation 2013; Roch & Sai, 2018). This mixed methods comparative case study offers one such CMO a perspective on teacher attrition in their own network. The project is built on Nguyen’s (2018) Conceptual Framework of Teacher Attrition and Retention and specifically examines why teachers are dissatisfied and leaving from a range of vantage points: recruitment personnel, principals, new teachers, veteran teachers, and from departed teachers themselves. Though analysis of interviews, focus groups, and staff recordings at two CMO high schools, this study identified a turnover rate that is both well above the national average and reifying (i.e. attrition at the CMO further exacerbates attrition). Analysis of interview data suggested that this high turnover is related to a number of school based factors related to work environment and school culture, curricular and instructional practice, professional development, and CMO control.