Differential Pay: New York

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. (2015). Differential Pay: New York results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NY-Differential-Pay-72

Analysis of New York's policies

New York supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects or working in a high-need school. According to the state's Teachers of Tomorrow Teacher Recruitment and Retention Program, those serving in a "teacher-shortage area" are eligible for an annual award of $3,400, renewable each year for three additional years. The state defines teacher-shortage areas as a public school or subject that had a shortage of certified teachers in the previous school year.


Recommendations for New York

As a result of New York’s strong differential pay policies, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

New York recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that under the Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE) program, it has created an $83 million competitive grant opportunity aimed at encouraging and supporting qualifying LEAs to take a comprehensive approach to recruit, develop, support, retain and increase equitable access to great teachers and leaders as part of their implementation of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) system. Across a third of the state top talent was recognized, rewarded, and extended through career ladder pathway positions implemented as part of each grantee’s robust Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) continuum. Educators were compensated for additional roles and responsibilities as teacher and principal leaders working to address the unique needs of students and teachers.

New York further noted that the STLE grant was reflective of the Board of Regents’ comprehensive statewide strategy to support the continuous improvement of every educator with special emphasis on supporting high-need students, improving learning of English language learners and students with disabilities, advancing student learning in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines, and improving the equitable distribution of highly effective teachers and leaders.

Research rationale

States should help address chronic shortages and needs.
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.