The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
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. However, the state salary schedule is waived for 169 of 180 school districts to allow districts to provide additional compensation for teaching in high-need schools.
Georgia Code 20-2-212.5
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.
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.
8B: High-Need Schools and Subjects
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.