Differential Pay: District of Columbia

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Differential Pay: District of Columbia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/DC-Differential-Pay-9

Analysis of District of Columbia's policies

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subject areas or by teaching in high-needs school.

Through IMPACTplus, DCPS offers annual bonuses for teaching "high-needs" subject areas. For the 2010-11 school year, the following subjects qualify: special education, English as a second language, bilingual education, secondary math and secondary science. DSPC also offers annual bonuses for teaching in "high-poverty schools," defined as schools that have 60 percent or higher of free and reduced-price lunches.

However, these are not state-level policies and only apply to DCPS.

Citation

Recommendations for District of Columbia

Support differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in both subject shortage areas and high-needs schools.
The District of Columbia should encourage districts to link compensation to district needs. Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers.

State response to our analysis

The District of Columbia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

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:
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w12285.

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