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Why are Teachers Leaving District 65?
Data from a University of Chicago Survey (5Essentials)
FOIA Gras is a free newsletter run by Tom Hayden (FOIA GRAS LLC) that explores various topics in local Evanston Governance, especially around School District 65 (Evanston/Skokie). I publish and share all my data and reports. Subscribing is free, so please subscribe or share
At one point this summer, District 65 had 200 jobs listed as open on their jobs website, including 70 teaching positions. According to the District’s Annual Statement of Affairs, the District had 886 full-time teachers. If this data is right, then in the last year, District 65 lost somewhere between 8-10% of all full-time teachers.
District-wide there were exactly 200 vacancies listed, including a lot of special education and support personnel. Comparing this data to the full list of employees, this means the District lost somewhere around 10-15% of all staff after the end of last year. That seems like a big problem and it’s a fair question to ask: what is up?
There’s a great article over at the Evanston Roundtable that I highly recommend: Why one District 65 teacher decided it was time to move on. I’m going to take a slightly different approach and present some data from the University of Chicago 5Essentials Survey, which surveys parents, teachers, and administrators. I’ve included ETHS in my results as well.
I believe the data tells a story of a District which has and continues to have a crisis in leadership, even while we continue to spend more on it.
Category 1: Effective Leader Score
According to the survey, the effective leaders score reflects;
Principals and teachers work together to implement a shared vision. In such schools, people, programs, and resources are focused on a vision for sustained improvement.
This category consisted of about 20 (agree, disagree, strongly agree, strongly disagree) statements. Examples include;
Makes clear to the staff the leadership’s expectations for meeting instructional goals.
Communicates a clear vision for our school.
Provides me with useful feedback to improve my teaching.
Below is a breakdown per school of the results from 2020-2023. The scores are generated by the survey as a roll-up of all the individual questions.
Contained within this score is another score, specifically regarding trust between teachers and principals.
Category 2: Teacher-Principal Trust Score
This category, like the one above, is a rollup of 7 (agree, disagree, strongly agree, strongly disagree) questions, including:
The principal has confidence in the expertise of the teachers.
I trust the principal at his or her word.
It’s OK in this school to discuss feelings, worries, and frustrations with the principal.
The principal takes a personal interest in the professional development of teachers.
And the results organized by school;
Category 3: Teacher Commitment Score
Lastly, UChicago developed a score that reflects the degree to which teachers are committed to the school. This category includes 4 (agree, disagree, strongly agree, strongly disagree) statements;
I feel loyal to this school.
I would recommend this school to parents seeking a place for their child.
I usually look forward to each working day at this school.
I wouldn’t want to work in any other school.
And the results by school from 2020-2023;
I would say that this is the most heart-breaking result. Some schools saw big increases but only because the numbers in 2020 were so bad. In the last four years, most Evanston schools generally saw a decline in the degree to which teachers reported being committed to the school.
A reader has noted that this number may not be entirely accurate since the District is not very good at updating their website when positions are fill. I think the point still stands that a non-trivial amount of teachers left in the last year.
University of Chicago. 2020-2023. 5Essentials® Survey. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.