On Monday we heard from a college senior trying to decide how best to prepare herself for a teaching career. This post begins a three-part series drawing on interviews with first-year teachers who came to the profession in a variety of ways.

Nationwide, between 40 and 50 percent of teachers leave the classroom within their first five years. For DCPS, that figure rises to 70 percent, and one D.C. education analyst has estimated that 55 percent leave within their first two years.

That’s a problem, because teachers generally get better with experience. And research has shown that high teacher turnover has a detrimental effect on students’ test scores, especially in schools with high numbers of low-performing and African-American students.

Many new D.C. teachers end up in schools that fit that description, largely because teachers with more experience don’t want those assignments. A recent study found that when highly effective experienced teachers were lured to high-poverty schools with $20,000 bonuses, they generally increased student achievement. But fewer than a quarter of the teachers who were offered the opportunity chose to apply.

[Continue reading Natalie Wexler’s post at Greater Greater Education.]

Natalie Wexler is the editor of Greater Greater Education. She is a member of the boards of D.C. Scholars Public Charter School and the nonprofit One World Education. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.