Differential Pay: Kentucky

2013 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2013). Differential Pay: Kentucky results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/KY-Differential-Pay-23

Analysis of Kentucky's policies

Kentucky supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. Those teaching in "critical shortage" areas are eligible, and the subjects identified as critical teacher shortage areas during the 2013-2014 school year include: English (middle school and secondary), world languages, exceptional children, mathematics (middle school and secondary), social studies (middle school and secondary), career and technical education, general science (middle school and secondary), chemistry, earth science, physics, biology and English as a second language. The state does not currently address the amount of stipend or higher annual salary.

Kentucky also encourages each school district to develop differential pay programs to recruit and retain highly skilled teachers to serve in high-need schools or "hard-to-fill" positions. The state treasury has established a professional compensation fund to provide grants to districts using such programs. 

In addition, teachers who are National Board Certified are eligible to receive a $2,000 annual salary supplement. However, this differential pay is not tied to high-need schools or subject-area shortages.


Citation

Recommendations for Kentucky

Consider tying National Board supplements to teaching in high-need schools.

This differential pay could be an incentive to attract some of the state's most effective teachers to low-performing schools.


State response to our analysis

Kentucky recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded

Research rationale

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.

Differential Pay: Supporting Research

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 Institute, Working Paper 57, January 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 http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/1001469-calder-working-paper-52.pdf..

C. Clotfelter, E. Glennie, H. Ladd, and J. Vigdor, "Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina," NBER Working Paper 12285, June 2006.

J. Kowal, B. Hassel, and E. Hassel, "Financial Incentives for Hard-To-Staff Positions: Cross-Sector Lessons for Public Education," 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. Kirby, M. Berends, and S. Naftel, "Supply and Demand of Minority Teachers in Texas: Problems and Prospects," Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Volume 21, No. 1, March 20, 1999, pp. 47-66 at: http://epa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/21/1/47.