Charter Schools: Facts & Issues
Published by the
LWVAL Education Fund
April 2011

VII.   Teachers and charter schools

A selling point for charter schools is that they attract and keep excellent teachers by offering freedom to innovate in the classroom. Another touted benefit is that charter schools are not restricted to hiring only state-certified teachers, though some states require that teachers hired by charter schools be certified by the state and be eligible for state teacher retirement plans. The 2010 Alabama Innovative Schools Act included a requirement that at least 75 percent of a charter school‘s teaching faculty of be certified by the state and that charter school employees participate in the Teachers‘ Retirement System of Alabama and the Public Education Employees‘ Health Insurance Plan.

An evaluation by the Center for Public Education found "charter school staffs appear more diverse, have fewer years of experience, and are paid less than those at the typical public school."21 In a research brief on teacher turnover in charter schools compared to traditional public schools, David Stuit and Thomas M. Smith, with the National Center on School Choice, reported:22

  • The rate that teachers leave the profession and move between schools is significantly higher in charter schools than in traditional public schools.
  • Charter schools that are started from the ground up experience significantly more attrition and mobility than those converted from traditional public schools.
  • Differences in teacher characteristics explain a large portion of the turnover gap among charter and traditional public school teachers.
  • Dissatisfaction with working conditions is an important reason why charter school teachers are significantly more likely to switch schools or leave the profession.
  • Involuntary attrition is significantly higher in charter schools.

© 2011 League of Women Voters of Alabama Education Fund. All rights reserved.