The Timing of Teacher Hires and Teacher Qualifications: Is There an Association?
by Mimi Engel — 2012
Background: Case studies suggest that late hiring timelines are common in large urban school districts and result in the loss of qualified teachers to surrounding suburbs. To date, however, there has been no large-scale quantitative investigation of the relationship between the timing of teacher hires and teacher qualifications.
Purpose: This study examines the pervasiveness of late teacher hiring in urban and suburban school districts and explores the association between the timing of teacher hires and teacher qualifications, including certification, master’s degree, and selectivity of undergraduate institution.
Research Design: Nationally representative cross-sectional data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics are used.
Data Analysis: The study uses data on school districts, public schools, and teachers from the 1999–2000 Schools and Staffing Survey. Secondary data are analyzed using multiple regression, including labor market fixed effects, to estimate the relationship between the timing of teacher hires and teacher qualifications.
Results: On average, districts hire 45% of their new teachers late—during the second half of summer and once the school year has already begun. Late hiring is more pervasive in urban and low-socioeconomic-status districts where over half of new hires take place during this late period. In urban districts, fully one fifth of new hires are made once the school year has already begun. The proportion of teachers hired late, however, does not predict the Barron’s ratings of teachers’ undergraduate institutions, certification, or master’s degree.
Conclusions: Although descriptive results indicate that late hiring is pervasive and more pronounced in urban districts, analyses do not provide evidence supporting the notion that earlier hiring is associated with hiring better credentialed teachers. Despite these null results, it is important to remember that late hires are still likely to cause problems for students, as well as for teachers, schools, and districts.
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