Differential Pay: Louisiana

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


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

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

Analysis of Louisiana's policies

Louisiana supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. As part of the Critical Teacher Shortage Incentive Program, the state defines mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics as shortage areas. The state offers $3,000 per year for every four consecutive years of teaching to newly certified teachers who agree to teach in one of these subjects at the elementary or secondary level.

Louisiana also supports differential pay for those teaching in high-need schools. Teachers serving in low-performing or Title I schools are eligible to receive an additional $6,000 per year for up to four years. 

Teachers who are National Board Certified are eligible to receive a $5,000 annual supplement, although this is only applicable to those who have earned this certification prior to July 1, 2013. This differential pay, however, is not tied to high-need schools or subject-area shortages.


Recommendations for Louisiana

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

Louisiana noted that state statute requires districts to develop local compensation plans that consider demand as a factor in compensation. In guidance, the state has encouraged districts to consider high-need schools and subject areas as eligible for this demand factor. However, districts are able to define this locally.

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.