Thursday, May 11, 2006

Teacher Turnover: Romancing The Numbers

Mike Antonucci's Intercepts has a reality check concerning an article about teacher turnover that appeared in Tuesday's Washington Post:
Congratulations to NEA. It sent out a press release touting data that was mostly five to 10 years old, and Reuters picked it up, found a teacher who fit NEA's profile, and ran it with the headline, "Half of new teachers quit within 5 years: study."

"According to a new study from teachers' union the National Education Association, half of new U.S. teachers are likely to quit within the first five years because of poor working conditions and low salaries," Reuters reported.

Let's see how many things are wrong with that sentence. The study isn't new, it isn't from the National Education Association, and it says nothing about whether teachers are likely to quit.

In fact, you'll find the study cited on many union web sites, but you'll have a hard time finding the study itself.
Consider reading the whole thing.

Over at the NEA's homepage,
there is nothing about the study. I would have thought that if this was indeed a new study, they'd be screaming it from the rooftops above the fold.

I find it particularly interesting how this article evolved as it moved from one MSM source to another.

We ourselves very nearly ran with it when we read it over at the Post but became suspicious when we couldn't find any reference to the study over at NEA.

Like Antonucci, I want to see the actual study so I can judge for myself. So, if anyone can give us a little help locating the actual data, we'd appreciate a helping hand.

Anyone? Anyone?

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