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Hiring Teachers Late in the Year Can Be Bad for Students and Schools

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Claremont Colleges Digital Library / Flickr

Ohio schools could hire more teachers if the education jobs part of President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act goes forward.

The bill includes $1.1 billion to pay teachers and first responders, allocated to states based on both total population and population of school-age children. All funds would need to be assigned to a specific purpose by September 2013.

It's unclear when--or if--this part of the bill will pass. But Education Week's Christina Samuels reports that some studies show that hiring teachers late in the year can actually be bad for teacher retention and student performance:

The potential downside of late hiring was illuminated in a 2011 study of Michigan teachers that showed that educators who were hired after the beginning of the school year were twice as likely to leave the school and the teaching profession within one year.

And the turnover comes with a cost: The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a research advocacy group based in Washington, has estimated that losing a teacher can cost a district from $5,000 to $18,000, depending on the district’s size...

Harvard University’s Center for Educational Policy Research, in a 2010 study of teacher-hiring practices in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, showed that teachers hired after the start of the school year performed less well on average than those hired before school began. Researchers based teacher-performance evaluations on value-added analyses of student scores on state mathematics tests.

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