Linda Darling-Hammond & Desiree Carver-Thomas: August 16, 2017






Linda Darling-Hammond

President and CEO of Learning Policy Institute






Desiree Carver-Thomas

Research and Policy Associate, Educator Quality Team, Learning Policy Institute



Among in-school factors, teachers have the greatest direct impact on student learning, and that learning suffers when teachers leave the classroom. Right now, teacher turnover is too high. About 90% of the nationwide annual demand for teachers is created when teachers leave the profession, with two-thirds of teachers leaving for reasons other than retirement. The cost of replacing a teacher can exceed $20,000, and high teacher turnover is associated with lower student achievement.

Learning Policy Institute conducted the Teacher Turnover Report, generated from the most recent nationally representative survey of U.S. teachers and Teacher Follow-up Survey, to investigate how turnover trends vary across teachers and schools. According to the report, total turnover rate is lowest in the Northeast where states offer higher pay and support smaller class sizes; the rates are 50% higher for teachers in schools serving large numbers of low-income students and 70% higher for those in schools with the largest concentrations of students of color.  The reasons teachers most frequently cite for leaving their jobs are dissatisfaction with testing and accountability pressures (25%), lack of administrative support, and dissatisfaction with working conditions. The report includes recommendations for reducing teacher turnover through improving teachers’ compensation, teacher preparation and support, and teaching conditions.

President of the Learning Policy Institute and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, Linda Darling-Hammond,  and Research and Policy Associate on LPI’s Educator Quality Team, Desiree Carver-Thomas, are available to you and your listeners to discuss the findings from the report to help understand this national problem affecting the next generation of Americans.

Some of their tips will include:

  • Provide compensation packages that are competitive with those of other occupations
  • Establish complete teacher preparation – high-quality teacher professional development plays an important role in reducing attrition.
  • Develop rigorous leadership training and review program. Effective school leadership plays a key role in teacher retention.

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Linda Darling-Hammond is President of the Learning Policy Institute and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University. She has conducted extensive research on issues of educator supply, demand, and quality. Among her award-winning publications in this area are What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s FutureTeaching as the Learning ProfessionPowerful Teacher Education; and Preparing Teachers for a Changing World: What Teachers Should Learn and Be Able to Do.




Desiree Carver-Thomas is a Research and Policy Associate on LPI’s Educator Quality Team. She is the lead author of Addressing California’s Growing Teacher Shortage: 2017 Update and is the co-author of A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S. Previously, she taught in New York City public schools for 5 years, and consulted on strategies for diverting recidivism and implementing a full-service community schools initiative.


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