Improving the Retention of Special Education Teachers. Final Report. RTI Project 5168.Report as inadecuate

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A 3-year research and development project examined ways to improve the retention of special education teachers in the Memphis (Tennessee) City Schools. Several individual studies identified sources of dissatisfaction with teaching and the conditions that would encourage career longevity among teachers. Responses from 470 special education and general education teachers who left their teaching positions from 1990 to 1993 were analyzed and in-depth interviews were conducted with 60 of these "exiters." Attrition rates were 5.8 percent to 7.9 percent per year for special educators and 4.6 percent to 5.8 percent for general educators. In deciding to leave, 51.5 percent of special education exiters and 23.2 percent of general education exiters gave "dissatisfaction with assignment" as an important reason for leaving. The study identified four personnel areas as the focus for strategic planning: (1) school climate and conditions; (2) working conditions of school personnel; (3) relationships within the school among all programs and personnel; and (4) personnel employment, assignment, and professional development policies and practices. Individual chapters of this report address: introductory material; attrition rates; the screening study; the study of influencing factors; the exiter study; the study of educators' career plans; major findings across the studies; and strategic planning. Attachments include questionnaires and the interview guide. (Contains 64 references.) (DB)

Descriptors: Change Strategies, Disabilities, Elementary Secondary Education, Faculty Mobility, Job Satisfaction, Long Range Planning, Quality of Working Life, Research and Development, Special Education Teachers, Strategic Planning, Teacher Alienation, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Burnout, Teacher Morale, Teacher Persistence, Teaching Conditions

Author: Billingsley, Bonnie S.; And Others


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