What's the Cost of Teacher Turnover?

High teacher turnover—or churn—undermines student achievement and consumes valuable staff time and resources. It also contributes to teacher shortages throughout the country, as roughly 6 of 10 new teachers hired each year are replacing colleagues who left the classroom before retirement. Research shows that urban districts can, on average, spend more than $20,000 on each new hire, including school and district expenses related to separation, recruitment, hiring, and training. These investments don’t pay their full dividend when teachers leave within 1 or 2 years after being hired. Turnover rates vary by school and district, with those in rural and urban settings or that serve high percentages of student in poverty experiencing the highest rates. Use this tool to estimate the cost of teacher turnover in your school or district and to inform a local conversation about how to attract, support, and retain a high-quality teacher workforce. High-leverage strategies are highlighted below.


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Shortage of Special Educators Adds to Classroom Pressures
Resource type:
Article
Shortage of Special Educators Adds to Classroom Pressures
Resource type:
Article
Resource description

An analysis of federal data by the Education Week Research Center shows that while the number of special education teachers was dropping, the number of students with disabilities ages 6 to 21 declined by only about 1 percent over the same time period. And as a whole, the number of teachers in all fields has gone up slightly over the past decade, as has overall enrollment.


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Teaching Conditions & Supportive Leadership , Competitive Compensation
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Examining Teacher Shortages and Surpluses to Improve Equitable Access to Effective Educators
Resource type:
Article
Examining Teacher Shortages and Surpluses to Improve Equitable Access to Effective Educators
Resource type:
Article
Resource description

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest, in partnership with the Midwest Alliance to Improve Teacher Preparation (MAITP), is conducting a study to provide an in-depth picture of teacher shortages and surpluses in Michigan’s public schools. Using data from the 2012/13 to the 2017/18 school years, researchers will identify statewide trends in teacher shortages and surpluses and whether those trends vary by teacher certification area, region of the state, district locale, and teacher compensation levels.


Related policy solutions
Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Competitive Compensation
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Special Education Teacher and Early Intervention Provider Shortages
Resource type:
Brief
Special Education Teacher and Early Intervention Provider Shortages
Resource type:
Brief
Resource description

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) provides recommendations to Congress for federal solutions to the shortage problem.


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Teaching Conditions & Supportive Leadership , Competitive Compensation
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Illinois Officials Zero in on Shortages of Special Education, Bilingual Teachers
Resource type:
Article
Illinois Officials Zero in on Shortages of Special Education, Bilingual Teachers
Resource type:
Article
Resource description

The Illinois State Board of Education recently released a report about the best ways to ease the state’s teacher shortage. State officials found that there is a statewide shortage of teachers. The need is acute for special education and bilingual educators in rural and poor school districts.


Related policy solutions
Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Competitive Compensation
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Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina
Resource type:
Research
Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina
Resource type:
Research
Resource description

For a three-year time period beginning in 2001, North Carolina awarded an annual bonus of $1800 to certified math, science and special education teachers working in public secondary schools with either high-poverty rates or low test scores. Using longitudinal data on teachers, this paper estimates hazard models that identify the impact of this differential pay by comparing turnover patterns before and after the program’s implementation, across eligible and ineligible categories of teachers, and across eligible and barely-ineligible schools.


Related policy solutions
Competitive Compensation
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A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S.
Resource type:
Brief, Report
A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S.
Resource type:
Brief, Report
Resource description

This report analyzes evidence of teacher shortages, looks at national and regional trends in teacher supply and demand, and investigates policy strategies that might mitigate these effects based on research about effective approaches to recruitment and retention.


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Teaching Conditions & Supportive Leadership , Competitive Compensation
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The Impact of Incentives to Recruit and Retain Teachers in “Hard-to-Staff” Subjects: An Analysis of the Florida Critical Teacher Shortage Program
Resource type:
Research
The Impact of Incentives to Recruit and Retain Teachers in “Hard-to-Staff” Subjects: An Analysis of the Florida Critical Teacher Shortage Program
Resource type:
Research
Resource description

This paper investigates the effects of the Florida Critical Teacher Shortage Program (FCTSP), a statewide program designed to increase the supply of teachers in “hard-to-staff” areas. FCTSP had three elements: (a) it provided loan forgiveness to teachers who were certified and taught in designated shortage areas; (b) it compensated teachers for the tuition cost of taking courses to become certified in a designated shortage area; and (c) for a single year, it gave bonuses to high school teachers who were certified and taught in a designated subject area. 


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , Competitive Compensation
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