Year of publication
Substantial teacher turnover poses a challenge to staffing public schools with effective teachers. The scope of the teacher retention challenge across school districts, however, remains poorly defined. Applying consistent data practices and analytical techniques to administrative data sets from 16 urban districts, we document substantial cross-district variation in teacher retention rates. Observable characteristics do not easily explain this cross-district variation. We also find considerable cross-district variation in key results from the retention literature, including the relationship between retention and both experience and estimated effectiveness. Finally, we explore the influence of temporary leaves of absence and cross-district, within-state movement on retention estimates. Accounting for cross-district movement matters little, while accounting for temporary leaves matters a great deal in many districts and tends to exacerbate cross-district differences in retention rates.