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Who Stays in Teaching and Why?

Literature Review Released at First-Ever Symposium for Experts Studying Teacher Recruitment and Retention.

At a first-ever symposium for experts studying teacher recruitment and retention issues, NRTA: AARP's Educator Community released a new publication, "Who Stays in Teaching and Why?" Prepared by The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the literature review considers research that provides insight into problems of teacher shortage and turnover, offers a comprehensive explanation for why some able teachers leave the classroom prematurely, and suggests current strategies for increasing retention rates. The publication also recommends where further study is needed to help stem the high attrition rates for new teachers.

Download "Who Stays in Teaching and Why?"

The NRTA-sponsored symposium brought together, for the first time, 20 of the nation's experts in the field of recruitment and retention from 15 universities and educational organizations, including Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Brandeis, Vanderbilt, and SRI International's Center for Education Policy. The symposium was co-chaired by Susan Moore Johnson of Harvard University and Richard Ingersoll of the University of Pennsylvania and was held Feb. 10-11, 2005, at the Gutman Conference Center on the campus of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

"The issue of how America's schools can retain quality teachers is critical to the success of today's students," said Annette S. Norsman, director of NRTA. "As AARP's educator community, we have made a multiyear commitment to raise awareness for this issue and to help engage our members, and others in the community, in ways that will provide meaningful support to new teachers." The NRTA Educator Support Network serves as an umbrella initiative to support new research, conduct pilot programs that engage retired educators in supporting new teachers, and raise public awareness for this crucial issue affecting our nation's schools.

Each section of "Who Stays in Teaching and Why?" addresses a topic that is relevant to the challenge of retaining a strong and effective teaching force: "Preparation," "Hiring," "Compensation," "Working Conditions," and "School Community." After reviewing the research findings on each topic, the sections conclude with suggestions for future research to inform policy and practice.

"NRTA is helping to expand the growing body of knowledge about teacher recruitment and retention," said Susan Moore Johnson, a principal author of "Who Stays in Teaching and Why?" and the Pforzheimer Professor of Teaching and Learning. "This is an outstanding opportunity for fellow researchers to share and compare our findings. We hope to build more collaborative and productive approaches to studying issues of teacher recruitment and retention so that we can offer timely and well-informed recommendations for policy and practice."

The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, established in 1999 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a research project addressing critical questions regarding the future of the nation's teaching force. Through a variety of qualitative and quantitative studies, project researchers examine issues related to attracting, supporting, and retaining quality teachers in U.S. public schools. Recently, they published "Finders and Keepers: Helping New Teachers Survive and Thrive in Our Schools" (Johnson and the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004). Articles and research papers can be found on the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers Web site.

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