Differential Pay: Kentucky

2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

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

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 2011-2012 school year include: biology (secondary), chemistry (secondary), engineering technology, English (middle school and secondary), English as a second language, exceptional children, earth science, information technology, mathematics (middle school and secondary), science (middle school), social studies (secondary), physics and world 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-needs 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-needs schools or subject-area shortages.

Citation

Recommendations for Kentucky

Consider tying National Board supplements 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 low-performing schools.

State response to our analysis

Kentucky recognized the factual accuracy of 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