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Regional Educational Laboratory Program

Teacher retention, mobility, and attrition in Kentucky public schools from 2008 to 2012

The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine the rates of retention, mobility, and attrition for classroom teachers in Kentucky public schools, as well as how those rates might vary by various teacher and school characteristics. The study looks at retention, defined as teachers returning to their same classroom (“stayers”); mobility, when teachers change schools within the school system (“movers”); and attrition, when teachers leave the system (“leavers”) from one year to the next. The study used data on teachers collected by the Kentucky Center for Education & Workforce Statistics on every teacher employed in PK–12 public schools in academic years 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, and 2011/12. Data on schools were obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data. The study found that the Kentucky teacher workforce was largely stable across the study period (2008–2012). Most teachers (85.6 percent, on average) stayed in the same school from one year to the next, 6.0 percent moved to a different school, and 8.4 percent left the public school system. The study revealed some variation in rates based on select teacher and school characteristics. In particular, teachers with the fewest years of experience, teachers in urban schools, and teachers in schools where more students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch were retained at the lowest rates.
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Publication Date:
January 2016