The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal is reorganized for 2021.
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.
Arkansas Code 6-17-811; 6-17-2703; 6-81-1704; 6-82-1503 Act 1803 of 2003 Updated NBCT Rules http://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/public/userfiles/Legal/Legal-Current%20Rules/2020/ADE_255_Financial_Incentives_for_National_Board_for_Professional_Teaching_Standards.pdf High Priority District Bonuses http://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/public/userfiles/Legal/Legal-Current%20Rules/Teacher%20Recruitment%20and%20Retention_Incentives%20ADE%20278.pdf
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.
Arkansas was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
8B: High-Need Schools and Subjects
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.