I can’t put the fault on district difficulties. I am the one who took another position in another district, changed to high school and changed subject areas. But if we are addressing poor schools, I ought to add that while my primary motivation was to change subject areas (and to get out of a school where the classroom temperatures were regularly in the mid-eighties and above in the fall and spring), I also wanted more money. When personnel in the new district called to tell me my new salary, I felt positively elated. My husband, who had been wondering if I should change positions, immediately leapt on board with this latest job offer. If I had been younger or in serious need of money, I might have left for the money a few years ago. That’s a huge problem poor schools face. Turnover will always be high when driving 8 more miles can result in a pay increase of over 25% in a more inviting physical space.
I have seen many young, talented teachers put in their first year or two in our poorest school districts only to move on to much better positions in academically-advantaged suburbs. Our poor schools are often just training grounds, subject to constant turnover. Of the eleven or so new teachers profiled in the school newsletter from when I started four years ago in my last district, I believe two are left.