Monday, June 10, 2013

Strategic Involuntary Teacher Transfers and Teacher Performance: Examining Equity and Efficiency

Despite claims that school districts need flexibility in teacher
assignment to allocate teachers more equitably across schools and
improve district performance, the power to involuntarily transfer
teachers across schools remains hotly contested. Little research has
examined involuntary transfer policies or their effects on schools,
teachers, or students.

This article uses administrative data from Miami-Dade
County Public Schools to investigate the implementation
and effects of the district's involuntary transfer policy, including
which schools transferred and received teachers, which teachers were
transferred, what kinds of teachers replaced them in their former
schools, and how their performance--as measured by their work
absences and value-added in math and reading--compared before and
after the transfer.

The authors find that, under the policy, principals in
the lowest-performing schools identified relatively low-performing
teachers for transfer who, based on observable characteristics, would
have been unlikely to leave on their own. Consistent with an equity
improvement, involuntarily transferred teachers were
systematically moved to higher-performing schools. Efficiency
impacts are mixed; although transferred teachers had nearly 2 fewer
absences per year in their new schools, transferred teachers
continued to have low value-added in their new schools.

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