Oh, won't you stay: A multilevel analysis of the difficulties in retaining qualified teachers

Katharine Omenn Strunk, Joseph Paul Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that every classroom be staffed with a "qualified teacher." A growing literature is focusing on what causes teachers to leave their jobs and/or the teaching occupation, rather than solely on factors influencing teacher recruitment. This article uses nationally representative data from the 1999-2000 Schools and Staffing Survey to address teacher attrition in a multilevel analytic framework, accounting for the clustering of teachers within schools within states. Drawing from a theoretical framework rooted in occupational wage theory and social identity theory, we find teachers are more likely to leave if (a) they are specialized instructors (especially foreign language); (b) they have a probationary teaching certificate; (c) they are less experienced; (d) the racial composition of the students is heavily minority; (e) the students' racial composition is less matched to their own race/ethnicity; and, for teachers of some races, (f) the teaching staff's racial composition is more matched to their own race/ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-94
Number of pages30
JournalPeabody Journal of Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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