Nationally, many charter school networks have higher rates of teacher and administrator turnover than their traditional school counterparts. In New Orleans, where nearly 90 percent of the public school children attend charters, the problem is particularly acute as young schools struggle to keep their teachers and leaders for the long-haul.
Administrators who don’t achieve test score gains are speedily replaced, young teachers expected to work 60 to 90 hour work weeks often burn out or move away, and entire staffs can be fired when a floundering school is taken over by a new operator.
Hechinger’s partner site The Lens reported this month that four charter networks have announced school leadership changes since November. Teacher and school leader turnover is a complex issue across school types: Few would advocate for leaving in place administrators and teachers who consistently fail to help students learn. But there’s considerable controversy over how, or whether, that learning should be defined and measured. Moreover, students and families need educators they can bond with for the long-term, and communities need stable institutions they can come to know and trust.
Sarah Carr, a senior editor at Hechinger, talked this week with New Orleans public radio news director, Eve Troeh, about the challenges of building sustainable schools.