Who comes back? A longitudinal analysis of the re-entry behavior of exiting teachers

Jason Grissom, Michelle Reininger
Year of Publication: 
Education Finance and Policy

While a large literature examines the factors that lead teachers to leave teaching, few studies have systematically examined what factors impact teachers’ decisions to re-enter the profession after exiting. Drawing on research on the role of family characteristics in predicting teacher work behavior, we examine predictors of re-entry after a spell out. We employ survival analysis of time to re-entry for teachers who exit using longitudinal work data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. We find that teachers who are younger, better paid and more experienced are more likely to re-enter. We also find that women are more likely to return to teaching than men. Child-rearing plays an important role in this difference. In particular, women are less likely to re-enter with young children in the home. We conclude that re-entrants may be an important source of teacher labor supply and that policies focused on the needs of teachers with young children may be effective means for districts to attract returning teachers.

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