More Than Demographics: School Rankings Based on Teacher Preferences
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Next, I investigate how these rankings are associated with school characteristics. Some studies have looked at the determinants of teachers’ career decisions, but most use work history data and are thus unable to separate teacher preferences from the school hiring process (notable exceptions are Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, Ronfeldt, and Wyckoff 2010 and Barbieri, Rossetti, and Sestito 2011). Using the same applications-to-transfer dataset that was used to create the rankings, I model whether a teacher applies to a specific school as a function of school characteristics. My study builds on prior literature that focuses mainly on demographic and academic features of schools by including measures of school working conditions. These items come from the New York City school surveys that are administered each year to its teachers, parents, and students. Preliminary findings generally affirm previous studies showing that teachers prefer to teach in schools with lower proportions of traditionally underserved populations. However, I examine the amount of variation in the rankings that is explained by observable school characteristics and find that there are many schools that look less attractive based on observables but that teachers rank highly. The findings from this study provide some information to schools about what drives teacher preferences but also suggests that there is a substantial amount that remains unexplained. Nonetheless, by making themselves more attractive, possibly through improvements to malleable school features such as working conditions, schools may be able to hire and retain higher quality teachers.