High-Need Schools and Subjects: Georgia

2017 Teacher Compensation Policy

Goal

The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.

Meets in part

Analysis of Georgia's policies

Shortage-subject areas: Georgia offers additional compensation for teachers in the critical shortage fields of mathematics and science. Secondary teachers who are—or who become—certified to teach math or science are moved to the salary step on the state salary schedule that is applicable to six years of creditable service. Teachers at or above such step are attributed one additional year of creditable service on the salary schedule for each year for five years. After five years, teachers may continue to be attributed one additional year of creditable service if they meet or exceed student achievement criteria. 

Elementary teachers who earn endorsements in math and science receive annual $1,000 stipends for up to five years. Teachers who meet or exceed student achievement criteria may continue to receive the stipend.

High-need schools: Georgia does not offer incentives to teach at high-need schools.

Citation

Recommendations for Georgia

Support differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in high-need schools.
Georgia 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

Georgia was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. The state added that its math and science incentive allows beginning and early career teachers who meet the established criteria to receive the difference in their current salaries and the salary of a teacher in the sixth year of teaching. This is a teacher who has five years of creditable service. The incentive is at the discretion of the Georgia General Assembly in each budget cycle. As a result, most districts pay the incentive in a lump sum and do not move the teacher forward on the state salary schedule. This protects teachers from receiving a salary that might not be permanent yet allows them to benefit from the additional salary funding on a year-by-year basis. It also protects the districts from committing to salaries that the General Assembly may not approve in subsequent years.

Updated: December 2017

How we graded

8B: High-Need Schools and Subjects

  • Shortage-Subject Areas: The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage-subject areas.
  • High-Need Schools: The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in high-need schools.
Shortage-Subject Areas
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it explicitly supports differential pay in subject areas where there is a demonstrated educator shortage.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it partially supports differential benefits in subject areas where there is a demonstrated educator shortage (e.g., tuition reimbursement).
High-Need Schools
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it explicitly supports differential pay for teachers in high-need schools.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it partially supports differential benefits for teachers in high-need schools (e.g., tuition reimbursement).



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.[1] 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.[2] Short of providing direct support, states can also use policy levers to indicate to districts that differential pay is not only permissible but necessary.


[1] For research that suggests 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, see: Feng, L., & Sass, T. R. (2016). Teacher quality and teacher mobility. Education Finance and Policy. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/1001506-teacher-quality-teacher-mobility.pdf; Another study found that the least effective teachers in high-poverty schools were considerably less effective than the least effective teachers in low-poverty schools. See: Sass, T. R., Hannaway, J., Xu, Z., Figlio, D. N., & Feng, L. (2012). Value added of teachers in high-poverty schools and lower poverty schools. Journal of Urban Economics, 72(2), 104-122. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/1001469-calder-working-paper-52.pdf
[2] Clotfelter, C., Glennie, E., Ladd, H., & Vigdor, J. (2008). Would higher salaries keep teachers in high-poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina. Journal of Public Economics, 92(5), 1352-1370. Retrieved from
Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina; Kowal, J., Hassel, B. C., & Hassel, E. A. (2008). Financial incentives for hard-to-staff positions. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2008/11/pdf/hard_to_staff.pdf; 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: Kirby, S. N., Berends, M., & Naftel, S. (1999). Supply and demand of minority teachers in Texas: Problems and prospects. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(1), 47-66.