How experienced are the teachers at your neighborhood school?

By Phillip Reese -

The experience level of teachers differs vastly across many schools in the Sacramento region, with average teacher experience ranging from two years in a few schools to 25 years in others, according to a Bee review of new state data.

In general, more experienced teachers can be found in wealthier, well-performing, traditional public schools. Teachers sometimes choose to end their careers at those schools after spending years somewhere else.

An illustration: When school districts laid off teachers during the recession based on seniority, local schools with a high number of poor and minority students were hit hardest.

There are exceptions; some schools in poorer neighborhoods retain a large number of experienced teachers, The Bee's review found.

Charter schools are generally more likely to employ less experienced teachers; in fact, some charter schools were among the few places hiring during the recession. Some of those same charter schools boast high student test scores.

The relationship between teacher experience and student performance is controversial. According to an Urban Institute study, "brand new teachers are less effective than those with some experience under their belts." A recent Brown University study found that teachers continue to improve for several years after starting on the job. On the other hand, new teachers are often associated with high enthusiasm and familiarity with the latest teaching methods.

This graphic illustrates teacher experience in the Sacramento region.


California Department of Education

| Note: Only includes teachers who spend 100 percent of their time in the classroom.

Click here to see graphic if using the Bee's mobile app.