Differential Pay: California

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: California results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/CA-Differential-Pay-72

Analysis of California's policies

California supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. The state encourages public school employers to "provide incentives to teachers for accepting teaching assignments in areas of highest need." However, California does not state specifically which subjects one must teach to qualify or the amount of stipend or salary incentive.

California also offers a $20,000 incentive award to teachers who earn certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and who agree to teach at least 50 percent of the time at a high-need school (Academic Index of 5 or lower) for four consecutive years. The incentive is paid in $5,000 installments over the four years.

Citation

Recommendations for California

As a result of California‚Äôs strong differential pay policies, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

The California Department of Education declined to respond to NCTQ's analysis citing ongoing litigation related to the state's teacher effectiveness policies.

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.