As DPS makes charter push, study shows high turnover rate for charter leaders

May 4, 2011

The Detroit Public Schools district is moving forward with its plan to turn dozens of its schools into charters. It’s part of current emergency manager Robert Bobb’s Renaissance 2012 plan. Just this week, 18 organizations put in bids to take over 50 DPS schools and convert them into charters.

At the top would be a charter leader who does everything from fundraising to student recruitment to academic planning. But a study out late last year by the Center on Reinventing Public Education shows charter leaders have a high turnover rate.

Christine Campbell is an analyst with the center. She says 71% of charter leaders say they expect to leave their schools within five years. Campbell says that’s similar to the turnover rate of principals at traditional public schools, but:

"While traditional school leaders are found from a pool, there is no pool ready and waiting to be drawn from [for a charter school], so finding the right leader can be a real challenge."

Campbell says only half the charter schools surveyed had a succession plan in place.