Differential Pay: Connecticut

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


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

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Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Differential Pay: Connecticut results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/CT-Differential-Pay-9

Analysis of Connecticut's policies

Connecticut neither supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects nor offers incentives to teach in high-needs schools. However, the state has no regulatory language preventing local districts from providing such differential pay in these areas.

For the 2010-2011 school year, the Commissioner of Education designated the following subjects as teacher-shortage areas: bilingual education (PK-12), comprehensive special education (K-2), English (7-12), intermediate administrator, mathematics (7-12), music (PK-12), remedial reading and language arts (1-12), school psychologist, speech and language pathology and world languages (7-12). Qualifying teachers assuming positions in these subject areas could benefit from either the Teachers' Mortgage Assistance Program or a Rehiring of Retired Teachers program. In the latter, teachers could return to work and, for a limited time, not be subject to the earnings limit if they teach in a subject-shortage area.   


Recommendations for Connecticut

Support differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in both subject shortage areas and high-needs schools.
Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers. Although the state's mortgage assistance and rehiring of retirees programs are a step in the right direction, the state should consider how to expand these programs so that all teachers, not just retirees or those purchasing a home can benefit. A salary differential is an attractive incentive for every teacher.

State response to our analysis

Connecticut recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded

States should help address chronic shortages and needs.

As discussed in Goal 4-C, 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.

Research rationale

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: Urban Institute 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.

Charles Clotfelter, et al., "Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina," Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, May 16, 2006 at:

Julie Kowal, et al., "Financial Incentives for Hard to Staff Positions," 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.N. Kirby, et al., "Supply and Demand of Minority Teachers in Texas: Problems and Prospects," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 1999; 21(1): 47-66 at: http://epa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/1/47