A Study of the Problem of Teacher Retention in an Urban School Setting



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Attrition rates in the teaching profession have increased from year to year. The critical issue of teacher retention influences instruction and student achievement. Many school leaders, having teacher attrition issues, have searched for solutions to retain and to attract new teachers. The purpose of the study was to determine the reasons why teachers are leaving an urban school district and what strategies could be implemented to reduce the attrition rate. Also examined in this investigation were conditions that contributed to teacher resignations and to conditions that would sustain teachers in their current roles. In this investigation, two focus groups, with 10 participants, were held. Of specific interest in this qualitative study were the reasons they provided for their resignations from one urban school district. Participants were teachers who resigned from one school district and accepted teaching positions in another local school district. In this study, only effective teachers were selected for the focus groups. Participant responses in the focus groups were analyzed by identifying common themes among participant responses. Data were generated through the focus group responses to 11 designated questions. Results showed the important role that school principals played, as well as their leadership in regard to teacher retention. Other themes that were present in the participant responses were: a negative culture and climate, ineffective communication, and lack of support for teachers. Based upon these themes, school district leaders are encouraged to examine ways in which school principals might influence teacher decisions to stay or to resign. The themes identified and discussed in this study provided information to school district leaders and to school principals regarding reasons that teachers do not remain at their current school campuses. Researchers are encouraged to conduct more in depth analyses of how principals influence teacher retention and teacher attrition in urban school districts.



Teacher retention, Urban schools