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Why Black Women Teachers Leave and What Can Be Done About it: Diversifying the United States’ Teacher Workforce


"This study uses the most recent national data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), 2011-2012 and Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), 2012-2013 to investigate attrition trends among Black teachers, and Black female teachers in particular, to inform a qualitative analysis of proposed and adopted teacher retention policy interventions. This study asks: Why do Black teachers report leaving, and what would bring them back to the classroom? What working conditions are associated with Black teacher attrition? What policy interventions can meet the needs of Black teachers in having successful and supported teaching experiences? How have these interventions been successful, and what are the considerations for applying them more broadly? We find that Black teacher turnover rates are significantly higher than those of other teachers and that there are several substantive differences in their preparation, school characteristics, and reasons for leaving. We describe policy interventions that target these conditions, such as teacher residencies, loan forgiveness, mentoring and induction, and principal training programs. We include in that discussion the relative benefits and challenges of each implications for policymaking."