Differential Pay: Pennsylvania

Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

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

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

Analysis of Pennsylvania's policies

Pennsylvania supports differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. Mathematics and science teachers can receive stipends between $1,500 and $5,000 and are eligible for a loan-forgiveness program.

Pennsylvania no longer supports the Urban and Rural Forgiveness Program, which provided loan forgiveness for those teaching in high-needs schools.

Citation

Recommendations for Pennsylvania

Support differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in subject shortage areas.
Pennsylvania should encourage districts to link compensation to district needs. Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers.

State response to our analysis

Pennsylvania was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for 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:
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w12285.

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