# NYC Teacher Turnover Rates to be Published

In New York State, each school gets a “report card” each year, full of data about the school. This year’s is late (maybe by two months). But principals have embargoed versions, and this year’s report cards, when issued, will include teacher turnover rates for each school.

How calculated? Total teachers who don’t return, divided by total teachers in the new school year. It’s about as simple as it gets.

What good is it? It tells us which schools teachers leave. Sure there can be blips (a bunch of teachers get pregnant in the same year, for example), but when we look at several years, we can get a sense of what is going on. Turnover rates of 30, 40, 50% are red flags.

How old? Several years behind. Maybe 2003 – 04, 2004 – 05, and 2005 – 06? I wish I knew for sure.

How can we use them? They will help us target schools that are abusing teachers or otherwise providing lousy work environments. They will inform new teachers about places that are bad to apply. The fact that they are being published may give principals pause before U’ing new teachers without trying to improve them first.

What else? Once teacher turnover numbers are out there, we will need to work to update the data. Two or three year old numbers have limited use in a rapidly changing system.

Lowering teacher turnover might be aided by official mentoring of younger teachers by older teachers. At the new Lehman College Mathematics Teacher Transformation Institute, we have NSF funding to help Bronx math teachers tranform themselves into leaders and school support for teachers who want to be active in this program. Participant teachers will receive content knowledge, education research and leadership training as well as a stipend and graduate credits beyond a masters. They will serve as mentors to other teachers in their schools and help shape the courses offered and teaching methods used. See

MTTI Webpage

Absolutely, publishing these turnover rates will help teachers decide which schools to avoid. Some principals and districts do abuse teachers and have very high turnover rates. Unfortunately, those schools often use teaching interns to teach their classes. Teaching interns are not counted as the teacher of record so the school will be able to disguise their turnover problem. I worked at a school in which 50 percent of the math department were teaching interns. These interns had no help from any teacher but they did have a master teacher just on paper. The interns leave every year even though they are asked to stay because they hate the school. The couple other math teachers that are new every year also leave. If you counted the interns and the new teachers together, then the math department loses 8 out of 12 of its teachers every single year. If you only count the new teacher then it appears they only lose 2 out of 12. See the difference. These schools can be very, very sneaky in disguising the truth.