Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2006


Addressing urban high-poverty school teacher attrition by addressing urban high-poverty school teacher retention: why effective teachers persevere

Sueanne E. McKinney1*, Robert Q. Berry2, Daniel L. Dickerson1 and Gloria Campbell-Whately3
  1Old Dominion University, Darden College of Education, Dept of Educational Curriculum and Instruction, Hampton Blvd. 23529, Norfolk, VA 23529, U.S.A. 2The University of Virginia,Curry School of Education Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, P.O. Box 400273 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4273, U.S.A. 3The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, College of Education, Department of Special Education, Charlotte, NC 28223, U.S.A.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 14 December 2007
  •  Published: 31 January 2008


Recruiting and retaining quality teachers specific for high-poverty schools in urban areas is a national concern, especially in light of the “No Child Left Behind” federal legislation. The educational realities, detrimental effects of poverty, and human despair that often depress low-income communities can prove to be quite overpowering for many teachers new to the profession and significantly contribute to high levels of teacher absenteeism, attrition rates, and teacher shortages. Examining this issue through a new lens, that being through the eyes of effective urban high-poverty school educators, has the potential to spark spirited conversations and debates among policy makers and educators alike so that significant polices and efforts can be developed and implemented. Therefore, the intent of this study was to develop a profile of high-quality educators who remain in urban high-poverty schools within a large metropolitan school district, and identify the indicators that influence them to remain. The results indicated that teachers who are African American, older, and more experienced define the profile of teachers most likely to remain beyond the first three years in this demanding setting. Additionally, these teachers reported that they remain because they believe they are well suited for teaching in high-poverty schools. Unless more attention is given to teacher retention, and why some educators are successful and persevere in even the most hard-to-staff schools, teacher attrition will continue to be a national concern.


Key words: Urban teaching, teacher retention, teacher recruitment.