Differential Pay: Mississippi

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


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

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

Analysis of Mississippi's policies

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. Also, under the Employer-Assisted Housing Teacher Program, eligible teachers serving in a geographical area designated as having a critical shortage of teachers may apply for a loan of up to $6,000 to assist in closing costs associated with the purchase of a house.  

Mississippi also has a Teacher Loan Repayment Program. Teachers who have received an alternative 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-needs schools or subject-area shortages.


Recommendations for Mississippi

Expand differential pay initiatives for teachers in subject shortage areas and high-needs schools.
Although the state's loan forgiveness and housing assistance programs are 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 or purchasing a home

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

Mississippi recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

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:

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