By Darren Fleischer, Policy Analyst
As part of the D.C. State Board of Education’s (SBOE) commitment to public engagement, we have had the pleasure of presenting at three education-related conferences, sharing findings from the 2020 D.C. Teacher Attrition Survey.
The first education-related conference the State Board participated in was at the 11th Annual DC Data Summit in July 2020, which is featured in our previous August 2020 SBOE blog post. This year, we continued to share our findings with a wider audience at two national education conferences—the ECDataWork’s national meeting on Building Resilient Data Analytics on February 23, as well as the 2021 American Educational Research Association’s (AREA) Annual Meeting on Accepting Educational Responsibility on April 8.
At the virtually-held February ECDataworks meeting, I joined fellow State Board policy staff Alex Jue as a panelist in the session entitled “Early Childhood Workforce Participation and Persistence,” alongside:
- Amy Yagil, Data Systems Coordinator, Pennsylvania Key, who is leading data efforts to make enhancements to Pennsylvania’s early childhood education workforce registry—the goal being that the state will maintain complete records of training and employment for everyone who works in a childcare setting.
- Kathy Thornburg, Senior Early Childhood Technical Assistance Provider, AEM Corporation, was part of a team in Missouri that recently completed a study on the early childhood workforce on military bases. The study led to recommendations for workforce development that have improved quality and persistence.
Alex and I provided the purpose and background of the 2020 Teacher Attrition Survey, as well as findings and recommendations from the report as they relate to early childhood educators. Questions from the moderator as well as audience members included, “What are the big workforce questions that your agency is tackling? What strategies are being used to gather and analyze workforce data? What is the data telling you? What are the strategies you have used to make information visible and useful to decision makers? Where does the State Board go from here?”
Alex and I stressed that the original intent of the study was to cover Pre-K–12 educators, and the sample size of early educators participating in the study was too small to include in some analyses around early childhood educators, including why educators left. In our concluding remarks, Alex and I shared resources and the presentation slides with the audience, as well as answered a question from one of the audience members regarding the Teacher Attrition video and how to effectively communicate research findings to stakeholders and the general public.
AERA Annual Meeting
For the virtually-held April 8 AERA Annual Meeting, Ward 4 Representative and Teacher Practice Committee Chairperson, Dr. Frazier O’Leary joined Alex and me to present at a roundtable session entitled “Teacher Reopening Teacher Retention and Response to School Reopening.” The two other session panelists included:
- Trang Pham-Shouse, Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, Pennsylvania State University, who presented her paper “Factors Influencing Intention to Teach of Preservice Teachers in Vietnam.”
- Lauren Stark, Assistant Professor of Education, Bowdoin College, who presented her paper “It’s Not Our Responsibility: Educator and Union Resistance Against the Unsafe Reopening of Schools.”
Similar to the 11th Annual DC Data Summit presentation, Frazier described the purpose and background of the 2020 Teacher Retention Study, Alexander discussed the methodology of the it, and I provided an analysis of data that indicated high levels of educators’ passion for teaching, lower reported levels of feelings of support from school leadership, and the significance of educators native to Washington, D.C. versus non-native educators with regards to the number of years they remain in their teaching positions at school. I also included State Board policy actions prior to and following the 2020 Teacher Retention Study, including the follow-up All-Teacher Survey Report that was published in March 2021.
One audience member noted the importance of the State Board’s work in relation to unions and asked about the future of this work around improving teacher attrition in the District in years to come. Other audience members asked our thoughts on whether compensation and/or benefits were tied in with the findings of the 2020 Teacher Retention Study. Lastly one audience member asked about further information on how the District’s teacher evaluation system, IMPACT, might have played a role in teachers’ desire to stay or leave their schools or the education profession.
Frazier, Alex, and I shared State Board resources and the video mentioned earlier in this post, highlighting the study’s findings.
The State Board looks forward to further sharing findings from its studies with education policy wonks, educators, and the general public at large, including findings from the 2021 All-Teacher Survey Report and future studies. Let us know your thoughts on these reports and feel free to suggest upcoming events and conferences if you would like us to share findings from these studies.