The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-needs areas.
Georgia supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. For teachers delivering instruction in the fields of mathematics, science, special education or foreign language, the State Board of Education may request a salary increase not to exceed an additional step on the state salary schedule to which that teacher is otherwise entitled. After three such salary increases, a teacher is no longer eligible for additional increases.
As of July 2010, Georgia created a system of differential pay for teachers in the critical shortage fields of mathematics and science. The system provides that early career mathematics and science teachers in secondary schools will begin their careers on step six of the state salary schedule rather than step one. They will receive this higher pay rate for five years. At the end of that period, teachers who can show evidence that their students meet or exceed state-determined achievement levels continue to receive the higher pay rate for the next five-year-cycle. This pattern can continue throughout the educator's career as long as the achievement levels are met.
Elementary school teachers have a similar incentive program under this system. Those who complete post-baccalaureate mathematics and/or science endorsements will receive yearly stipends. Demonstration of state-determined student achievement gains every five years will allow these teachers to continue to receive the stipend.
Georgia also supports differential pay for National Board Certified teachers in high-needs schools, which the state defines as public schools that have received an unacceptable rating for two or more consecutive years. These teachers are eligible to receive not less than a 10-percent salary increase. Georgia has amended the program by limiting this differential pay to teachers who remain in teaching. Those who leave the classroom for administration and other nonteaching fields will no longer receive the differential pay.
Georgia Code 20-2-212.2; 20-2-212.3; 20-2-212.5
Georgia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.