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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state solutions

Available Resources


Preparing and Retaining Effective Special Education Teachers: Short-Term Strategies for Long-Term Solutions
Resource type:
Brief
Preparing and Retaining Effective Special Education Teachers: Short-Term Strategies for Long-Term Solutions
Resource type:
Brief
Resource description

Many states struggle with shortages of special education teachers (SET). To address the shortage problem in the long term, policymakers, preparation providers, and state and district administrators must ensure that any short-term strategies are combined with a comprehensive plan that includes long-term systemic strategies to strengthen the supply, preparation, and retention of special education teachers.


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 first year of teaching is notoriously tough. Denver is experimenting with a new approach.
Resource type:
Article
The first year of teaching is notoriously tough. Denver is experimenting with a new approach.
Resource type:
Article
Resource description

Denver Public Schools has launched a small pilot that is part of a new district strategy to better prepare new teachers to work in Denver’s many high-poverty schools, which tend to hire more novices. The students in those schools are more likely to be behind academically and in need of top-notch teachers.  In this pilot, DPS will have six “associate teachers” who will teach part-time in a high-poverty school and spend the rest of their time planning, observing, and learning.


Related policy solutions
Effective Training & Support for New Teachers
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CCSD hires 105 special education teachers from the Philippines to address shortage
Resource type:
Video
CCSD hires 105 special education teachers from the Philippines to address shortage
Resource type:
Video
Resource description

The Clark County School District is once again bringing in special education teachers from the Philippines to address shortages


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Teaching Conditions & Supportive Leadership , Competitive Compensation
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Teacher shortage predicted to worsen
Resource type:
Article
Teacher shortage predicted to worsen
Resource type:
Article
Resource description

In order to reduce the number of teaching vacancies that currently exist, Mercer County Schools has an Alternative Certification for Teachers program in collaboration with Marshall University and Concord University that would allow someone who has a four-year degree in an area other than teaching to be hired in a teaching position for a subject experiencing shortages.


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , Effective Training & Support for New Teachers , Teaching Conditions & Supportive Leadership , Competitive Compensation
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California’s persistent teacher shortage fueled by attrition, high demand, say newly released studies
Resource type:
Article
California’s persistent teacher shortage fueled by attrition, high demand, say newly released studies
Resource type:
Article
Resource description

California has earmarked nearly $200 million over the last four years to address the state’s persistent teacher shortage, but it is not enough, according to new studies that are part of “Getting Down to Facts II,” a research project focused on a wide array of statewide education issues. The teacher shortage has worsened in recent years as state funding for education improved and districts began lowering class sizes and bringing back programs like summer school and the arts, which were frequently eliminated during the recession, increasing the need for more teachers.


Related policy solutions
Service Scholarships & Student Loan Forgiveness , 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
Resource type:
Article
Washington State Taps Paraeducators to Fill Special Education Teacher Shortage
Resource type:
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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Solving The Special Ed Teacher Shortage: Quality, Not Quantity
Resource type:
Article
Solving The Special Ed Teacher Shortage: Quality, Not Quantity
Resource type:
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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