Ideas & Innovations

The Irreplaceables: Tips for Principals

July 30, 2012


The Irreplaceables: Tips for Principals

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Conventional wisdom says that most teacher attrition is beyond the control of schools, especially those in poor communities. The assumption is that teachers leave because of major life events—starting a family, for example—or due to low pay or other working conditions that school leaders cannot address on their own.

Many of these factors play a role and need to be addressed. But on balance, we found that the conventional wisdom is wrong.

Less than 30 percent of Irreplaceables who plan to leave their school do so for personal reasons beyond their school’s control, and principals hold significant sway over the decisions of the other 70 percent.

"Tips for Principals," a one-page supplement to The Irreplaceables, lists five practical steps most school leaders can take to keep more great teachers, without any changes in policies, contracts or laws, and at little or no cost.

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