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Retaining Teacher Talent

The View From Generation Y

Policy Recommendation 2: Given stagnant and declining state and local funding for education, state and local policymakers may want to consider targeting scarce resources toward improving school working conditions with the intention of retaining high-performing teachers

Despite prompting teachers in focus groups and our survey multiple times, it is clear that there were no generational differences when it comes to the relative importance of teacher pay over many aspects of teachers' working conditions. New pay structures that give consideration to performance awards or innovative pension models are not at the top of teachers' lists when it comes to retention strategies. As such, policymakers should consider focusing reforms on a variety of school-level working conditions, such as providing more structured common planning and learning time; developing and committing to a strong, schoolwide behavior-management system; or investing in the latest instructional technology.

For example, at Broad Creek Middle School in North Carolina, Principal Cathy Tomon transferred $40,000 out of her textbook budget to purchase SMART Boards, ELMO projectors, and other pieces of cutting-edge education technology. As a result, the retention rate of her teachers has soared; last year, 25 percent of teachers could have retired but chose to stay on and continue working for her.7

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7 Tomon, C. (September 1, 2009). Principal of Broad Creek Middle School. Personal communication.

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