Turnover Contagion: Trust and the Compounding Impact of Turnover on Teachers

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Teacher turnover is high in US public schools, and it is growing. Such turnover has academic and financial costs, but little is known about the impact on teachers themselves. How do teachers experience turnover? Using interviews of departed teachers and focus groups of new and veteran teachers, this qualitative multi-site case study examines how teachers at a so-called “no-excuses” Charter Management Organization (CMO) experience and respond to high turnover. Findings reveal that teachers experience considerable strain as a result of high levels of turnover due to increased demand on their expertise and diminished trust. This turnover, in turn, begets turnover.

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