High-Need Schools and Subjects: Arkansas

Teacher Compensation Policy

Goal

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

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). High-Need Schools and Subjects: Arkansas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AR-High--Need-Schools-and-Subjects-96

Analysis of Arkansas's policies

Shortage-Subject Areas: Arkansas supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects, including science, math, or technology. The state established a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Fund, whereby licensed math and science teachers teaching STEM subjects in K-12 may apply for a supplemental grant from the fund for that portion of the day they are teaching these subjects. However, Arkansas is not currently funding the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Fund. 

High-need Schools: Arkansas 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. Bonuses are subject to appropriation and availability of funding. 

Loan assistance is also provided to candidates willing to work in a geographic area of the state deemed a critical shortage area. For each year loan recipients teach in a critical shortage area, 20% of their loan will be forgiven. After five years, the entire loan will be forgiven. 

For teachers who began the National Board certification process after January 1, 2018, if they meet the qualifications and teach in a school that is not high poverty, they receive a $2,500 payment for five years. Teachers in a high-poverty school but not a high-poverty district receive a $5,000 payment for five years. Teachers in a high-poverty school in a high-poverty district receive a $10,000 payment for ten years.

Citation

Recommendations for Arkansas

Prioritize funding for teaching in shortage-subject areas. Arkansas has articulated policy to support differential pay and should therefore prioritize funding for teachers who teach in shortage-subject areas.

State response to our analysis

Arkansas was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

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.