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Turnover ideas from a teacher whose colleagues keep leaving

Is teacher turnover the greatest challenge facing schools? Some don’t think so, but in the Community section today, Stephen Lazar kicks off a three-part series explaining why turnover is his school’s biggest problem.

Lazar says his school, Bronx Lab, works hard to develop new teachers, so when they leave, the school loses its investment and must start afresh. The phenomenon is not unique to Bronx Lab, but it is severe there, he writes:

When I interact with teachers at conferences and online, they’re shocked to hear my school has such high turnover. They’re shocked because we have such a good reputation, or we’ve had such strong results, or the economy is so bad. And I’m shocked they’re shocked. We all know 50 percent of teachers leave teaching within five years. Why would anyone be surprised that this hits the Bronx and other students in most need the most? There are 40 adults who work at my school as teachers, administrators, or in guidance roles. This is only my school’s seventh year, and already, 76 different people have filled those positions.

Lazar’s data doesn’t point to a single reason that his colleagues have left. In the next post in the series, he’ll unpack some of the causes for departure.