Date of Conferral

1-1-2009

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Marilyn K. Simon

Abstract

Teacher attrition compromises efforts to provide a quality teacher in every classroom, and attrition brings high financial and organizational costs to school districts. Yet, there are few studies on retention of veteran teachers. Within a framework of economic, organization, and attrition theories, the purpose of this study was to provide a clearer focus on factors that contribute to the retention of veteran teachers using Q-methodology. The independent variables were 49 participants from a large school district in the southwest United States. The dependent variable was the Q-sample of multiple factors. Using previous literature, a concourse was developed. The P-sample of veteran teachers sorted various retention perception statements into categories of most definitely influencing to most definitely not influencing their retention. Factor analysis including varimax rotation was completed. Four factors emerged defining groups of teachers and what influences retention: empowerment with emotional support, family lifestyle with intellectual growth, family lifestyle with serving students, serving students with physical support. Interfactor retention elements that positively or negatively affected retention included standardized testing, time challenges, administrator, empowerment, family lifestyle, serving students, adequate facilities and materials, and intellectual enjoyment. Recommendations for action included modifying standardized testing; providing supports for time, family lifestyle, and disadvantaged students; encouraging empowerment through a supportive administrator; and implementing further research clarifying veteran teacher retention. Positive social change may occur if local, district, state, and national policies address retention factors to provide better retention of teachers for increased stability and student learning with decreased financial and emotional costs.