Differential Pay: New York

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy


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

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

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-needs school. According to the state's Teachers of Tomorrow Teacher Recruitment and Retention Program, those serving in a "teacher-shortage area" are eligible or 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

State response to our analysis

New York recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. New York pointed out that in addition to Teachers of Tomorrow, the state will be using a portion of its discretionary Race to the Top award to establish an Innovative Compensation Fund for LEAs. These funds are committed to recognizing (through development or leadership opportunities) and rewarding highly effective and effective teachers and principals with supplemental compensation based on the new performance evaluation systems. For example, LEAs could use such funding to provide highly effective and effective teachers with supplemental compensation to serve as mentors and coaches for other teachers and student teachers and to lead professional development programs within the LEA. The state will give priority funding to those highly outstanding teachers and school leaders who are employed in high-needs schools to help retention and ensure the equitable distribution of outstanding educators. New York will also establish a Transfer Fund through which LEAs can provide monetary incentives for highly effective teachers to transfer to high-needs schools within their LEA.

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