Differential Pay: Idaho

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


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

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

Analysis of Idaho's policies

Idaho supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. Districts have the ability to pay bonuses to teachers serving in hard-to-fill positions and can designate up to 33 percent of certified positions as hard to fill.

Teachers who are already National Board Certified are eligible to receive a $10,000 bonus paid by the state. However, this type of differential pay is not tied to high-needs schools or subject-area shortages. However, Senate Bill 1184 (2011) ends this incentive program for teachers who have not yet received their certification.


Recommendations for Idaho

Support differential pay for teachers in high-needs schools.
Idaho should encourage districts to link compensation to district needs. Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers. Rather than eliminate the bonus for National Board certification, the state should consider tying the incentive to teaching in high-needs schools. This differential pay could be an incentive to attract some of the state's most effective teachers to its lowest-performing schools.

State response to our analysis

Idaho 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:

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