Parallel Patterns: Teacher Attrition in Charter vs. District Schools

Report Details

Author: Betheny Gross and Michael DeArmond, Center on Reinventing Public Education
Published: September 2010

Teacher turnover in charter schools is more likely driven by the same factors that lead teachers to leave traditional public schools than a so-called “charter effect,” according to a September 2010 report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education.
Parallel Patterns: Teacher Attrition in Charter vs. District Schools tracked the careers of nearly 1,000 newly hired charter school teachers and 20,000 traditional public school teachers in Wisconsin between 1998 and 2006. The report’s authors found that high teacher turnover rates were primarily a function of young and inexperienced teachers and poor and urban school settings, not the nature of charter schools. In fact, teachers in Wisconsin’s urban charter schools were less likely to leave than their peers in traditional urban public schools.
Teachers in both charter and traditional public schools cited a lack of administrative support, poor working conditions, and low salaries as reasons for leaving. Charter school teachers were more likely to point to lack of job security and the scope of their work as reasons for leaving, the researchers said.