Eating our young: A study of secondary, early teacher attrition
Smith, William Lee
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Early teacher attrition has been a problem for American secondary schools for decades. With raising student enrollment and high fiscal costs to train new teachers, determining value-added approaches to secondary early teacher retention is critical for schools to ensure a quality workforce and enhance student achievement. This study examines the determinants of secondary, early teacher attrition in the United States. It develops a holistic, sociological framework termed constrcutivist community of professionalized praxis to explain secondary, early teacher attrition. Using data from the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study (BTLS) and event history analysis with Cox regression models, this study tests hypotheses related to the effects of teacher characteristics, teacher support and relations, teacher preparation and developemnt, percieved work environment, school contexts, and student variables on early teacher attrition. The results show that, overall, 10.1 percent of teachers left teaching, while about 90 percent remained. Covariates that significantly influence the likelihood of secondary early teachers’ exit from the teaching profession include certification type, teacher preparation, induction, content autonomy, and reduced enthusiasm. The findings have significant implications for research on early teacher attrition, theoretical framework on early teacher attrition, and practices.