May 22, 2007




Charter school teachers more than twice as likely as those in traditional schools to leave after one year, research finds


Contact: Teri Battaglieri – (517) 203-2940;

               Gary Miron – 269-387-5895;


EAST LANSING, Mich., (May 22, 2007)-- As many as 40 percent of newer charter school teachers end up leaving for other jobs, according to a new study funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.


The study, “Teacher Attrition in Charter Schools,” by Gary Miron and Brooks Applegate, of the Western Michigan University Evaluation Center, is based on the authors’ analyses of data collected in surveys of charter school employees from around the country conducted from 1997 to 2006.


The authors found that while overall attrition rates fluctuate from year to year and state to state, as many as one in four charter school teachers leave each year- approximately double the typical public school attrition rate, which is around 11 percent.


Attrition among new teachers in charter schools is close to 40 percent annually. This information is particularly critical for charter schools because the percentage of charter school teachers under 30 (37 percent) is more than three times that of traditional public schools (11 percent).


According to Miron and Applegate, “High attrition consumes resources of schools that must regularly provide pre- and in-service training to new teachers; it impedes schools’ efforts to build professional learning communities and positive and stable school cultures; and it is likely to undermine the legitimacy of the schools in the eyes of parents.”


The researchers found that teachers more likely to leave were those who reported less satisfaction with their charter school’s mission, its ability to achieve that mission or its administration and governance. Also more likely to leave were uncertified teachers and those who taught in upper grades.


Based on their findings, Miron and Applegate recommend that supporters of charter schools “would be well-advised to focus on reducing high turnover, especially for new teachers in charter schools.”


“The high attrition rates for teachers in charter schools constitute one of the greatest obstacles that will need to be overcome if the charter school reform is to deliver as promised,” they conclude.

Gary Miron’s and Brooks Applegate’s full report, “Teacher Attrition in Charter Schools” is available at



The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to identify, develop, support, publish and widely disseminate empirically sound research on education policy and practices designed to improve the quality of public education for all students within the Great Lakes Region. 

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