The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-needs 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-needs 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-needs 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
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.
Oklahoma noted that due to budget shortfalls, the National Board Certified Teacher annual supplement was not funded for the 2011-2012 school year.