Why it’s a big problem that so many teachers quit – and what to do about it

Arkansas legislators voted unanimously this month to study exactly why nearly 40 percent of teachers in the state leave the classroom after five years. In South Carolina, the Clemson University Board of Trustees approved initial plans for the state’s first university-led teacher residency program in part to address the problem of teacher attrition. These are just two of many places around the country where teacher turnover is a serious problem — and in some places, it’s getting worse.

This post is a deep, definitive dive into teacher attrition and what can be done about it. It was written by Linda Darling-Hammond, Leib Sutcher and Desiree Carver-Thomas, all of the California-based Learning Policy Institute, which conducts independent, high-quality research to improve education policy and practice.

Darling-Hammond is founder and president of the institute and professor of education emeritus at Stanford University, where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and former executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, whose 1996 report “What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future,” was named one of the most influential reports affecting U.S. education in that decade. In 2008, she served as the leader of President Barack Obama’s education policy transition team. Her book, “The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future,” received the coveted Grawemeyer Award in 2012.

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