Georgia Charter Schools Association

Tony’s Blog: The Debate Over Teacher Turnover

September 4, 2013 by Tony Roberts

A recent article in the New York Times, “At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice,” has sparked a good debate about the value of teacher longevity to student success.

I noted that many charter school opponents quickly put a negative twist on the article by claiming that teachers in charter schools are inexperienced, overworked, underpaid—unlike traditional public schools where teacher tenure is a “holy hallmark” to be cherished.

A representative from the National Education Association (national teacher union) claims that teacher longevity helps build “relationships” that are important.  Relationships with whom?  Most students have a one-year relationship with a teacher in K-12 schools, whether that teacher is new or has 30 years experience.

Teacher unions and advocates for traditional public schools have responded with comments about the need for longevity in teaching.  Is the locus of their debate what makes for student success or what enhances teacher longevity? 

Teacher turnover is not THE problem causing low student achievement and success!  Those who are complaining about short teacher tenures by charter schools fail to look at the whole picture.  How are schools like YES Prep and KIPP schools doing such an amazing job with what the critics see as “high teacher turnover?”

What do you think?



Tony Roberts AUTHOR:

Tony Roberts

Chief Executive Officer
t: 404.835.8900

Tony has significant experience in the areas of associational and nonprofit management, resource development, advocacy, and government relations. He has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) since 1986 and a member of the American Society of Association Executives.

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