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Detecting Involuntary Layoffs in Teacher Survival Data: The Year of Leaving Dangerously

Judith D. Singer and John B. Willett
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
Vol. 10, No. 3 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 212-224
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1163954
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Detecting Involuntary Layoffs in Teacher Survival Data: The Year of Leaving Dangerously
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Abstract

In this paper, we present an exploratory methodology for detecting and documenting an influence on the duration of teacher employment which has heretofore eluded empirical quantification-the involuntary layoff. Using data on the lengths of employment of more than 14,000 teachers hired between 1969 and 1981 in the St. Louis metropolitan area, we show that over and above the effects that previous researchers have identified (such as high early dropout rates and gender differences), there were certain years in which many more recently hired teachers were likely to leave their districts than might have been expected. We then present documentary evidence indicating that these unusual years were ones in which several of the districts under study implemented sizable mandated staff reductions. We conclude by discussing how ignoring involuntary layoffs may lead researchers to erroneously attribute some inter-individual variation in employment duration to other influences such as entering cohort. Viewed in its entirety, our paper presents a methodology for the improved analysis of teacher survival data that allows researchers to uncover not only involuntary layoffs but other predictors of employment duration as well.

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