Factors That Influence Young, Highly-Effective Educators to Leave Traditional Public Schools for Charter Schools
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Abstract Background: One of the most debated topics in education centers around the legality and effectiveness of charter schools. Amidst these debates, the number of charter schools has skyrocketed from about one percent of the total percentage of schools to over six percent. This has led to an exodus of young, highly-effective educators from traditional public schools to those new charter schools. Traditional districts are grappling with this phenomenon as they struggle to deal with other challenges. Purpose: This study sought to answer one question: what factors lead young, highly effective teachers to leave traditional public schools in favor of charter schools? The study was designed so that the findings might be helpful for new policies surrounding teacher happiness, effectiveness, and retention. Both charter schools and traditional schools can use this knowledge to make informed decisions to retain these teachers. Methods: This qualitative, multi-case study relied on six highly-effective teachers under age 40. Participants were chosen through convenience sampling based on select criteria from a larger group of educators I know as colleagues. Data was collected through field observation notes, participant written responses, surveys and phone interview questions. Next, the data was analyzed to come up with common themes. Results: Several factors lead young, highly-effective educators to leave traditional public schools in favor of charter schools. These factors include enhanced professional development/career advancement opportunities and stronger administrative leadership at charter schools. Conclusion: This study yields potential benefits for both charter and traditional public schools. Campus and district leaders should revamp systems to provide more opportunities for leadership and skill building and stronger mechanisms for staffing schools with excellent administrative ix leadership. Employing such a strategy will help both types of schools to better recruit and retain young, highly-effective educators.