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Predicting Retention of Catholic High School Religion Teachers in the United States

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The United States is experiencing a shortage of qualified Catholic high school religion teachers. Previous research indicates that teacher turnover and attrition is a major cause of the problem. This study investigates factors that are related to religion teacher retention. Data for religion teachers are drawn from The Next Generation: A Study of Catholic High School Religion Teachers. The results reveal that the background characteristics of religion degree & teaching preparation and full-time status and the satisfaction measures of enjoyment, efficacy, and community support have the most impact on retaining religion teachers. Our predictive models identify enjoyment of teaching religion as the strongest predictor for reducing attrition while teacher efficacy and community support, in turn, are the strongest predictors of enjoyment. Although shown to be related to retention, satisfaction with opportunities for faith expression and satisfaction with compensation & growth are less influential. Our findings suggest that school leaders can influence religion teacher retention with strategies that include hiring formally prepared teachers who teach religion full-time, implementing mentoring and induction programs, showing appreciation and support, and strengthening school faith community.


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