Assistant Professor Emily Penner has been awarded a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship to study teacher recruitment and retention: "Before & After School: Using Administrative Records to Support Teacher Recruitment & Retention."
Teacher turnover costs districts across the country $2.2 billion annually, costs which are disproportionately borne by districts serving low-income students. Moreover, turnover negatively affects school climate and harms student achievement. Using novel school-district human resource data linked with IRS records, I provide policy-relevant insights into how districts can address turnover. These data include teachers from a large urban district and an entire state in the Western United States, allowing for an investigation of the dynamics of turnover in both high cost-of-living urban areas and rural school districts over the past fifteen years. I first examine the economic and residential transitions of former teachers. This will help districts understand whether teachers leave for better economic opportunities, particularly in high-cost, urban and remote, rural areas. To better understand teacher mobility, I also consider the role that residential relocation, housing costs, and partner/spouse job changes play in these transitions. I also use machine learning techniques to code unique applicant essay data to examine whether applicants who express particular attitudes are more likely to remain teachers for longer. This study will help school districts across the country better target their limited resources at more effective recruitment and retention strategies.
Dr. Penner and Dr. Di Xu are two UCI School of Education faculty awarded a 2018 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship out of 30 awarded nationwide. PhD student Sabrina Solanki was awarded a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.