High-Need Schools and Subjects

Teacher Compensation Policy

High-Need Schools and Subjects

The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal is reorganized for 2021.

Best practices

FloridaUtah, and West Virginia 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. The state has also identified funds as part of its efforts to recruit and retain high-performing teachers for high-need schools: Highly effective teachers, according to the VAM calculation, will receive up to a $15,000 supplement; effective teachers will receive up to a $7,500 supplement. In Utah, teachers of critical shortage areas are eligible for annual salary supplements of $4,100. Eligible teachers are defined as a new employee or one who has received at least a satisfactory rating on their most recent evaluation. The state's Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program awards annual salary bonuses 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 $1,000 for teaching at a Title I school. In West Virginia, teachers who teach math and special education are considered to have three additional years of experience for the purposes of the state's salary schedule. The state also provides a teacher-mentoring increment of $2,000 for classroom teachers with National Board certification who teach and mentor at persistently low-performing schools.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). 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-96
Best practice 0

States

Meets goal 10

States

Nearly meets goal 9

States

Meets goal in part 12

States

Meets a small part of goal 3

States

Does not meet goal 17

States

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

2021
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

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

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

Footnotes
CA: No longer funded
KY: Not currently funded.
LA: Not currently funded
MN: For teachers in Q Comp districts.
MS: Not currently funded
NV: Not currently funded
OH: Not currently implemented or funded.

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

2021
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes: AR, DE, MT, NE, SC, WV

No: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, 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, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY

Footnotes
CT: Connecticut offers mortgage assistance for teachers in high-need schools and of shortage subject areas.

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

2021
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes: AR, CA, DC, FL, GA, HI, IN, KY, LA, MN, NC, NV, NY, OH, OK, TN, UT, VA, WV

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

Footnotes
AR: Not currently funded.
KY: Not currently funded.
LA: Not currently funded
MN: For teachers in Q Comp districts.
NV: Not currently funded
OH: Not currently implemented or funded.

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

2021
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes: AL, DE, MD, MS, MT, NE, OK, SC, SD, VA, VT, WA, WV

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

Footnotes
CT: Connecticut offers mortgage assistance for teachers in high-need schools and of shortage subject areas.
MS: Not currently funded
VT: Not currently funded

Updated: March 2021

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).
**States will lose a quarter point overall for lack of funding that, in practice, fails to support differential pay for teachers in high-need schools and/or shortage subject areas. 


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.