There Isn’t Really a Mass Exodus of Good Teachers

There is no systemic evidence that all the best teachers are leaving. In fact the opposite appears to be true. More research and more years of data, are needed, but early results seem promising that evaluation is playing a positive role in keeping the best educators.

Numbers have already been crunched on teacher retention and retirement rates, and the early news is good. So what is actually happening in a place like Tennessee that has been one of the more aggressive implementers of rigorous evaluation?

Teachers who are retiring tend to be less effective than the retirement eligible teachers who are choosing to stay in the classroom.

Before rigorous evaluation, this gap didn’t exist. Only after rigorous evaluation did the most effective retirement eligible teachers remain in the classroom more often than their peers.

Highly effective educators tend to be retained at higher rates than less effective educators, especially among educators with less experience – it will be interesting to see if this gap widens over time.

Crucially, one of the working conditions associated with retention of highly effective teachers is a well-functioning evaluation.

Based on available evidence of real behavior by teachers, rigorous evaluation in Tennessee is helping to keep the best teachers with kids.

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