Differential Pay: Arkansas

2015 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas.

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2015). Differential Pay: Arkansas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AR-Differential-Pay-72

Analysis of Arkansas's policies

Arkansas supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects, including science, math and/or technology.

Arkansas also supports differential pay for teachers working in high-priority districts. New teachers can earn $5,000 for the first year of teaching, $4,000 for the second and third years of teaching, and $3,000 for the fourth and subsequent years. 

Teachers who are National Board Certified are eligible to receive a $5,000 annual supplement. However, this differential pay is not tied to teaching at high-need schools.

Citation

Recommendations for Arkansas

Consider tying National Board supplements to teaching in high-need schools.
This differential pay could be an incentive to attract some of Arkansas's most effective teachers to low-performing schools.


State response to our analysis

Arkansas noted that it also provides high-need salary bonuses to educators who work in districts with fewer than 1,000 students and more than 80 percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch. The bonuses are on a sliding scale and used to recruit and retain effective teachers.

How we graded

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. 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. Short of providing direct support, states can also use policy levers to indicate to districts that differential pay is not only permissible but necessary.

Differential Pay: Supporting Research
Two recent studies emphasize the need for differential pay. In "Teacher Quality and Teacher Mobility", L. Feng and T. Sass find that 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. Calder Institute, Working Paper 57, January 2011.  Another study from T. Sass, et al., found that the least effective teachers in high-poverty schools were considerably less effective than the least effective teachers in low-poverty schools http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/1001469-calder-working-paper-52.pdf.
C. Clotfelter, E. Glennie, H. Ladd, and J. Vigdor, "Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina," NBER Working Paper 12285, June 2006.
J. Kowal, B. Hassel, and E. Hassel, "Financial Incentives for Hard-To-Staff Positions: Cross-Sector Lessons for Public Education," Center for American Progress, November 2008.

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 S. Kirby, M. Berends, and S. Naftel, "Supply and Demand of Minority Teachers in Texas: Problems and Prospects," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Volume 21, No. 1, March 20, 1999, pp. 47-66 at: http://epa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/1/47.