A new report to be presented at tonight’s school board meeting (agenda here) shows that 73 percent of teachers hired by the Oakland school district in 2004 were no longer in the classroom, five years later.
Using several years’ worth of data, the district found that 28 percent of its new teachers didn’t return for a second year; about 48 percent didn’t come back for a third, and 60 percent didn’t return for a fourth (such as Andy Kwok, right, the rookie teacher we followed in 2007-08).
Through surveys and the district’s personnel data, the New Teacher Support & Development Department tried to find out why 887 teachers hired between 2004 and 2008 had left. They collected 491 responses.
You might be surprised by one of the top reasons new teachers leave their Oakland classrooms: they have no choice.
Nearly 160 of those teachers were released by the district — presumably after their first or second year of teaching, before earning tenure. If you put that figure over 887, the total number, instead of 491 (since the district’s database can account for all of the teachers who were let go, rather than relying on survey responses), it comes out to 18 percent.
In other words, almost one in every five of the new hires who left OUSD classrooms between 2004 and 2008 were forced out of their jobs; they didn’t leave in search of greener pastures, as is often presumed.
About 90 teachers — 18 percent of the 491 survey responses — said they moved out of the area; 13 percent said the working conditions drove them out, and 3 percent said it was the low pay. About 4 percent took other jobs within the district, becoming administrators or instructional coaches.
Sixteen schools had one-year turnover rates of more than 20 percent in the 2009-10 school year.
You can find the full presentation, which compares the retention rates for various internship programs (Teach For America, Oakland Teaching Fellows, etc.) here.