July 9, 2012 by

Teachers Need Time, Tools, and Trust, Says Report

Last week’s most-clicked ASCD SmartBrief article profiles a new report from Education Trust that identifies school culture and working conditions as key determinants in retaining good teachers. From the Education Trust report:

“Despite widespread assumptions that students are the primary cause of teacher dissatisfaction, research shows that the culture of the school—particularly the quality of school leadership and level of staff cohesion—actually matters more to teachers’ job satisfaction and retention, particularly in high-poverty schools, than do the demographics of the students or teacher salaries.”

Fresno, Sacramento, Charlotte-Mecklenberg, and Boston school districts are highlighted in the report for their efforts to transform culture and working conditions in high-poverty or low-performing schools, to retain good teachers.

Several ASCD articles and briefs support and extend the claims in this Education Trust report. For example

  • The entire May 2010 issue of Educational Leadership magazine discusses the teacher supports necessary for supporting and retaining good teachers.
  • Increased teacher collaboration has the potential to improve school climate and teacher career satisfaction, according to the 2010 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success.
  • Policy recommendations for attracting and retaining quality teachers include high-quality induction programs, ongoing professional development, and class-size reduction.
  • Teachers in Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland have substantial influence on school-based decisions, especially in the development of curriculum and assessment, and on the design of their own professional learning. See how some U.S. schools are adopting these practices.
  • Ongoing professional supports and opportunities to take on (and be rewarded for) expanded roles and responsibilities should be part of an overall teacher effectiveness strategy.
  • Working conditions, in particular principal support, showed a significant influence on job choice in simulations conducted by the researchers and authors of “Recruiting New Teachers to Urban School Districts: What Incentives Will Work?

Additionally, the ASCD book Turning High-Poverty Schools into High-Performing Schools addresses building leadership capacity and professional learning as focal points for high-poverty, high-achieving schools. Read sample chapters and hear author interviews for this book.