New research sheds light on inequities in teacher retention in Duval County

The report comes as JPEF prepares to accelerate strategies to diversify the teaching workforce in Duval County.

2/23/2021

New research from the Jacksonville Public Education Fund is shedding light on the challenge of teacher recruitment and retention in local public schools.

Teacher recruitment and retention is a nationwide challenge, and the research shows Duval County is keeping pace with several innovative initiatives to recruit and retain teachers. An analysis of three years of data from Duval County Public Schools showed that Duval County’s teacher retention rate is about 84 percent year-to-year across the entire district, and about 75 percent year-to-year in the average school.

“JPEF believes in the power of teachers to make a positive impact on students,” said JPEF President Rachael Tutwiler Fortune. “I hope this research inspires our community to rally around teachers in our high-poverty school communities. I believe we all have a role to play, and JPEF is committed to helping convene our community in a connected, coordinated plan of action.”

Digging deeper, this study spotlights the ways teacher turnover disproportionately affects low-income students and students of color. It can be read in full at jaxpef.org/teacher-study.

According to the research: 

  • Schools serving large numbers of low-income students are more likely to experience high teacher turnover. Every 10 percent increase in the percentage of students on free and reduced lunch in a school correlated to a 3 percent decrease in teacher retention at that school.

  • Principal turnover was the most important factor for teacher turnover, and schools serving low-income students are more likely to experience a principal change. A principal change was associated with a 5.6 percent decrease in teacher retention.

  • Schools with lower school grades tend to have teachers with fewer years of experience.

  • Duval County’s teacher workforce is less diverse than the student body. For example, Black students make up about 45 percent of the student body, while Black teachers make up only 29 percent of the teacher workforce. Black male teachers make up less than 6 percent of the teacher workforce.

National research suggests diversifying the teacher workforce could be one of the most promising solutions for improving student outcomes. One rigorous, longitudinal study showed that representation and cultural responsiveness in teaching has a major impact on student achievement, with low-income Black boys 39 percent more likely to graduate high school if they have one teacher who looks like them in elementary school. 

“You will never be disappointed in the impact you can make as a teacher,” said Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene. “I want to challenge all people considering their career, particularly men of color, to consider teaching. We will support you, and I promise you a life’s work of tremendous value and contribution.“

The teacher shortage was a major issue at the state level during last year’s Legislative Session. As a result of a new law and funding, starting teachers are now earning more than ever in Duval County, $45,891 a year. Prospective teachers can email teach@duvalschools.org to learn more about career opportunities at Duval County Public Schools, and rising high school students interested in teaching can now apply for Urban Education Scholarships at UNF.

As a result of the study, JPEF is proud to announce a partnership with Duval County Public Schools to further develop strategies to improve the recruitment and retention of teachers of color, especially Black men, in Duval County. JPEF has contracted with a social impact implementation firm, SchermCo, which has developed teacher diversity strategies in several other Southern states, to help facilitate this work. The process will include input from stakeholders representing all parts of the education system, including local colleges and universities, nonprofit partners like Teach for America, principals, district leadership, charter representatives, and others, to identify what’s working and what could be improved.

“We have tremendous unmet need related to diversifying the teaching workforce for our community,” said Diane Yendol-Hoppey, Dean of the College of Education & Human Services at the University of North Florida. “We have been committed to changing this at UNF, but this is not an easy task. Diversification will take a coordinated systems approach, which we have to figure out together.”

About the Jacksonville Public Education Fund

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent think-and-do tank that believes in the potential of all students. We work tirelessly to close the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color in Duval County through research, convening and strategic initiatives.

Take action

Prospective teachers can learn about career opportunities with Duval County Public Schools by emailing teach@duvalschools.org

High school students who are interested in teaching can learn more about the Urban Education Scholars program at the University of North Florida.

 

 

Upcoming Event

Applications Due for the Cindy Edelman Excellence in Teaching Fellowship

  • Date: Sunday, Feb 21, 2021
  • Time: 11:59PM to 11:59PM
  • Where: Online Application
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87%

of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2018-2019.