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Manhattan Institute

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New Report: NYC Charter Schools Experience Greater Principal Turnover than Traditional Public Schools

press release

New Report: NYC Charter Schools Experience Greater Principal Turnover than Traditional Public Schools

November 1, 2018
EducationPre K-12

NEW YORK, NY – Principal turnover is higher in charter schools than in traditional public schools, potentially reducing their effectiveness.

In his new report, “Comparing Principal Attrition in NYC Charter and Traditional Public Schools,” Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Marcus A. Winters documents principal mobility for New York City’s charter and traditional public schools from 2008 through 2018. He also evaluates whether differences in principal turnover between charter schools and traditional public schools can be explained by differences in student demographics and/or response to school performance.

Winters’ key findings include:

  • Between 2008 and 2018, yearly principal turnover in traditional public schools ranged from 8.7 percent to 14 percent, as opposed to charters, which ranged from 7.3 percent to 31.8 percent.
  • Principal turnover in charters changes wildly, whereas traditional public school turnover stays roughly flat. This indicates that the charter-traditional public schools gap changes over time.
  • The higher principal turnover in charter schools relative to traditional public schools doesn’t appear to be driven by differences in the demographics of their students or response to school performance.
  • Notably, the higher attrition in charter schools occurred during a time in which previous research finds NYC’s charter schools were more effective than traditional public schools. Thus, the results don’t imply that students were harmed from attending a charter school. Rather, reducing principal turnover might further increase charter school effectiveness.

Click here to read the full report

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