The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas.
Oklahoma supports differential pay by which a teacher can
earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. According to state
statute, "Districts shall be encouraged to provide compensation schedules
to reflect district policies and circumstances, including differential pay for
different subject areas." Teachers of mathematics, science or other
critical-needs areas are eligible for loan forgiveness.
Oklahoma also supports differential pay for those teaching in high-need schools but leaves it up to the school district to determine the specifics: "Districts shall be encouraged to provide completed schedules to reflect district policies and circumstances, including...special incentives for teachers in districts with specific geographical attributes."
Teachers who are National Board Certified are eligible to receive a $5,000 annual supplement. However, this differential pay is not tied to high-need schools or subject-area shortages.
Oklahoma Statutes 70-5-141; 70-698.3 Commission for Teacher Preparation - Financial Information http://www.ok.gov/octp/National_Board_Certification/Financial_Information/index.html
This differential pay could be an incentive to attract some of the state's most effective teachers to low-performing schools.
Oklahoma 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.