The Context of Teachers’ Work in High-poverty Schools

Teacher helping a student with his workHigh-poverty schools—where many early-career teachers take their first job—often have great difficulty retaining effective teachers.

Because schools that serve high-poverty students often cope with high demands yet have limited resources, new teachers seldom receive the support they need. The steady exodus of teachers to other schools, which are typically whiter and wealthier, means that low-income students are routinely taught by inexperienced teachers. Such turnover is not only expensive, but also imposes substantial organizational costs, making it very difficult to increase the school’s instructional capacity over time.

In this project, which we began in 2010, we are exploring the role of school context and working conditions in teachers’ satisfaction and sense of success in high-poverty schools.