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Too Angry To Leave

Author(s): Karen Hunter Quartz and the TEP Research Group


While the challenge to retain highly competent teachers affects all schools, the crisis is critical in urban school districts, which historically suffer from a severe shortage of qualified teachers and typically fill vacancies with unlicensed teachers or full-time substitutes. This paper reports research on one effort to curb urban teacher attrition through a non-traditional approach to urban teacher education, induction and ongoing professional development. It combines quantitative data about the retention rates over five years of teachers prepared specifically as “social justice” urban educators with qualitative data about the type of preparation and ongoing support that the teachers experienced. Our analyses of these data allow us to suggest and probe those elements of preparation and support that may be efficacious in remedying “the revolving door” of urban schools. This single case study attempts to extend the broad literature on teacher retention while establishing some groundwork for further investigations of urban teachers’ learning and career paths. The paper concludes with a proposal to reframe the professionalization of teaching debate to fit the realities of urban schools.

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