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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‘Indiana’s war on teachers is winning’: Here’s what superintendents say is causing teacher shortages
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Article
‘Indiana’s war on teachers is winning’: Here’s what superintendents say is causing teacher shortages
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Article
Resource description

Out of the 220 districts that responded to the survey, 91 percent reported experiencing a teacher shortage, with most feeling the pinch in science, math, and special education. Eighty-five percent of the surveyed districts applied for emergency permits for people who don’t have teaching licenses, or educators who are hired to teach subjects outside their licensure.


Related policy solutions
Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Teaching Conditions & Supportive Leadership , Competitive Compensation
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Washington State Taps Paraeducators to Fill Special Education Teacher Shortage
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Article
Washington State Taps Paraeducators to Fill Special Education Teacher Shortage
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Article
Resource description

A new law passed in July aims to shrink the special education teacher shortage in Washington state by providing an easier path to teaching certification for paraeducators, also known as instructional aides or teacher assistants.


Related policy solutions
Effective Training & Support for New Teachers
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Schools Throughout the Country are Grappling with Teacher Shortage, Data Show
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Article
Schools Throughout the Country are Grappling with Teacher Shortage, Data Show
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Article
Resource description

Hundreds of districts across the country are grappling with a growing teacher shortage — especially in key areas such as math and special ed. Increasingly, teachers in areas like math and science are leaving for higher-paying private sector jobs after a few years. As a result, many teachers who remain are being asked to do more, and class sizes are growing. The two main reasons teachers are leaving are that they aren’t paid enough, and that teaching in the US is too demanding. The article cites some strategies for how to fix this nationwide shortage and retention issue.


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Teaching Conditions & Supportive Leadership , Competitive Compensation
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Solving The Special Ed Teacher Shortage: Quality, Not Quantity
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Article
Solving The Special Ed Teacher Shortage: Quality, Not Quantity
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Article
Resource description

All over the United States, schools are scrambling to find qualified special education teachers. That means schools must often settle for people who are under-certified and inexperienced. Special ed is tough, and those who aren’t ready for the challenge may not make it past the first year or two. Really good teacher preparation might be the difference. 


Related policy solutions
Effective Training & Support for New Teachers
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Shortage of Special Educators Adds to Classroom Pressures
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Article
Shortage of Special Educators Adds to Classroom Pressures
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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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Southern New Hampshire University Launches New Degree in Clinical Education
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Article
Southern New Hampshire University Launches New Degree in Clinical Education
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Article
Resource description

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in Manchester launched its new clinical master’s degree program during the 2018-19 academic year. The program offers dual certification in elementary and special education or early childhood and early childhood special education. It is designed to prepare teacher candidates for certification and to ensure that new educators have the required skills, competencies, knowledge, and dispositions specifically needed to support the development and learning of students in elementary grades (K-8) and general special education (K-12).


Related policy solutions
Effective Training & Support for New Teachers
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Examining Teacher Shortages and Surpluses to Improve Equitable Access to Effective Educators
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Article
Examining Teacher Shortages and Surpluses to Improve Equitable Access to Effective Educators
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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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