Differential Pay: Illinois

2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

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

Analysis of Illinois's policies

Illinois does not support differential pay by which teachers can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. However, the state has no regulatory language preventing districts from providing such differential pay.

Illinois supports incentives for those teaching in high-needs schools. Teachers working in "hard-to-staff" schools are eligible for $25,000 in forgivable loans for direct expenses associated with teacher preparation programs. Loans are fully forgiven after five years of service; partial forgiveness is given for shorter periods of service. 

Citation

Recommendations for Illinois

Support differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in shortage subject areas.
Illinois should encourage districts to link compensation to district needs. Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers.

Expand differential pay initiatives for teachers in high-needs schools.
Although the state's loan forgiveness program is a desirable recruitment and retention tool for teachers early in their careers, Illinois should expand its program to include those already part of the teaching pool. A salary differential is an attractive incentive for every teacher, not just those with education debt. 

State response to our analysis

Illinois was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.

How we graded

States should help address chronic shortages and needs.

As discussed in Goal 4-C, 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.

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