High-Need Schools and Subjects

2017 Teacher Compensation Policy

2017 Goals for High-Need Schools and Subjects

The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.

Best practices

Florida, New Mexico, and Utah all support differential pay for teachers in both shortage subject areas and high-need schools. Districts in Florida must provide salary supplements for teaching either critical shortage areas or in high-need schools. New Mexico's STEM and Hard-to-Staff Teacher Initiatives provides $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000 stipends per year to effective, highly effective, and exemplary teachers of hard-to-staff positions in low-performing schools. In Utah, teachers of critical shortage areas are eligible for annual salary supplements of $4,100. The state's Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Programs award annual salary bonuses of $5,000 to those teaching at high-poverty schools who achieve a median growth percentile of 70 or higher. Additionally, Utah's National Board Certified teachers are eligible to receive an additional $750 for teaching at a Title I school.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2017). High-Need Schools and Subjects national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/High--Need-Schools-and-Subjects-78
Best practice 3

States

Meets goal 11

States

Nearly meets goal 4

States

Meets goal in part 9

States

Meets a small part of goal 5

States

Does not meet goal 19

States

Progress on this goal since 2015

  • Improved
  • Stayed the same
  • Regressed

Do states incentivize teaching in high-need schools through differential pay?

2017
Figure details

Yes: AR, CA, CO, FL, HI, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, WY

No: AK, AL, AZ, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, VT

Do states incentivize teaching in high-need schools through loan forgiveness?

2017
Figure details

Yes: CO, MT, NE, PA, SC, WV

No: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY

Do states incentivize teaching in shortage subject areas through differential pay?

2017
Figure details

Yes: AR, CA, FL, GA, KY, LA, NC, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, TN, UT, VA

No: AK, AL, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

Do states incentivize teaching in shortage subject areas through loan forgiveness?

2017
Figure details

Yes: MS, MT, ND, NE, SC, VA, VT, WA, WV

No: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, WI, WY

How we graded

8B: High-Need Schools and Subjects

  • Shortage-Subject Areas: The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage-subject areas.
  • High-Need Schools: The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in high-need schools.
Shortage-Subject Areas
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it explicitly supports differential pay in subject areas where there is a demonstrated educator shortage.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it partially supports differential benefits in subject areas where there is a demonstrated educator shortage (e.g., tuition reimbursement).
High-Need Schools
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it explicitly supports differential pay for teachers in high-need schools.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it partially supports differential benefits for teachers in high-need schools (e.g., tuition reimbursement).



Research rationale

States should help address chronic shortages and needs. States should ensure that state-level policies (such as a uniform salary schedule) do not interfere with districts' flexibility in compensating teachers in ways that best meet their individual needs and resources. However, when it comes to addressing chronic shortages, states should do more than simply get out of the way. They should provide direct support for differential pay for effective teaching in shortage subject areas and high-need schools.[1] Attracting effective and qualified teachers to high-need schools or filling vacancies in hard-to-staff subjects are problems that are frequently beyond a district's ability to solve. States that provide direct support for differential pay in these areas are taking an important step in promoting the equitable distribution of quality teachers.[2] Short of providing direct support, states can also use policy levers to indicate to districts that differential pay is not only permissible but necessary.


[1] For research that suggests high performing teachers tend to transfer to schools with a large proportion of other high performing teachers and students, while low performing teachers cluster in bottom quartile schools, see: Feng, L., & Sass, T. R. (2016). Teacher quality and teacher mobility. Education Finance and Policy. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/1001506-teacher-quality-teacher-mobility.pdf; Another study found that the least effective teachers in high-poverty schools were considerably less effective than the least effective teachers in low-poverty schools. See: Sass, T. R., Hannaway, J., Xu, Z., Figlio, D. N., & Feng, L. (2012). Value added of teachers in high-poverty schools and lower poverty schools. Journal of Urban Economics, 72(2), 104-122. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/1001469-calder-working-paper-52.pdf
[2] Clotfelter, C., Glennie, E., Ladd, H., & Vigdor, J. (2008). Would higher salaries keep teachers in high-poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina. Journal of Public Economics, 92(5), 1352-1370. Retrieved from
Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina; Kowal, J., Hassel, B. C., & Hassel, E. A. (2008). Financial incentives for hard-to-staff positions. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2008/11/pdf/hard_to_staff.pdf; A study by researchers at RAND found that higher pay lowered attrition, and the effect was stronger in high-needs school districts. Every $1,000 increase was estimated to decrease attrition by more than 6 percent. See: Kirby, S. N., Berends, M., & Naftel, S. (1999). Supply and demand of minority teachers in Texas: Problems and prospects. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(1), 47-66.