Do Charters Retain Teachers Differently? Evidence from Elementary Schools in Florida

We analyze patterns of teacher attrition from charter schools and schools in the traditional public sector. Using rich data on students, teachers, and schools in Florida, we estimate teacher effectiveness based on repeated test scores reported at the student level for each teacher over time. Among all teachers, those in charter schools appear more likely to exit the profession than those in the traditional public sector, and in both sectors the least effective teachers are more likely to exit than their more effective counterparts. Few of these relationships appear evident for within- or between-district transfers, and there are no differential relationships between effectiveness and attrition in the charter sector. We interpret these results as indicating that whatever administrative or organizational differences may exist in charter schools, they do not necessarily translate into a discernible difference in the ability to dismiss poorly performing teachers.

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