School districts and states need to address policy and culture issues that lead to higher rates of teacher dissatisfaction and turnover in schools that serve large populations of low-income students and students of color.

That’s the conclusion of a report from The Education Trust, "Building and Sustaining Talent: Creating Conditions in High-Poverty Schools That Support Effective Teaching and Learning."

"Despite widespread assumptions that students are the primary cause of teacher dissatisfaction and attrition," the report says, "research shows that the work environment in schools—particularly the quality of school leadership and staff cohesion—actually matters more, especially among teachers working in high-poverty schools."

Sarah Almy, director of teacher quality at The Education Trust and co-author of the report, says, "We have to be intentional about creating the kinds of supportive working environments in our high-poverty and low-performing schools that will make them more attractive to our strongest teachers."

The report highlights five school systems—Ascension Parish, La.; Boston; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; Fresno, Calif.; and Sacramento, Calif.—that have taken steps to improve the conditions for teaching and learning in their most challenging schools.