Study Shows How Tenure Changes Impact Teacher Turnover

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The Education Research Alliance of New Orleans (EAR) released a study earlier this week on how changes to teacher tenure impact teacher turnover.  While the study did not address the effects of the policy change on teacher quality, it did provide some cautionary evidence of how policy shifts can impact the profession.

Study Specifics

In 2012, the Louisiana legislature made major reforms to teacher tenure, which would permit districts to dismiss ineffective teachers.   EAR researched the short-term effects of the policy change on teacher exits from public school employment.

EAR Findings

EAR drew the following conclusions:

  • After the removal of tenure, the overall teacher exit rate for all traditional public school teachers increased by 1.5 percentage points per year. Effects were largest among teachers who already held tenure, as their loss of job security was greatest.
  • The effects of removing tenure were greatest among teachers who were eligible for retirement with immediate, full pension benefits. These were also the most experienced teachers with at least 25 years of public school employment.
  • The increase in teacher exits was highest in schools with the lowest standardized test scores. Schools with a letter grade of “F” on the state report card saw exits increase from 7.4% to 9.4% (a 27% increase), while “A”-rated schools saw no change.
  • The results support prior findings that teachers value the job security that tenure provides. In places where the supply of teachers is already limited, districts may need to provide higher teacher salaries or improve working conditions to make up for the diminished job security that accompanies tenure reform.

The Report