The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas.
Mississippi has established a Critical Needs Teacher
Scholarship Program to attract qualified teachers for both geographical
areas and subject areas where a critical teacher shortage exists. The program
awards full scholarships to those who render service to the state.
Mississippi also has a Teacher Loan Repayment Program. Teachers who have received an alternate route license in a critical shortage subject area or hold a teaching certificate in any subject area and who agree to teach in a critical geographical shortage area can apply for $12,000 of loan forgiveness ($3,000 payable per year for up to a maximum of four years).
Teachers with at least three years of experience who are National Board Certified are eligible to receive an annual salary supplement of $6,000. However, this differential pay is not tied to high-need schools or subject-area shortages.
Mississippi Code 37-159-3 Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment Program http://www.mississippi.edu/riseupms/financialaid-step3-grants-loans.php?article_id=239 National Board Certification http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/school-financial-services/school-financial-services-master-teacher
Although the state's loan forgiveness program is a desirable recruitment and retention tools for teachers at certain points in their careers, Mississippi should expand its program to include all teachers. A salary differential is an attractive incentive for every teacher, not just those with education debt.
This differential pay could be an incentive to attract some of the state's most effective teachers to low-performing schools.
Mississippi recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.