The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal is reorganized for 2021.
Shortage-Subject Areas: Rhode Island does not support differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects.
High-Need Schools: Rhode Island does not offer incentives to teach at high-need schools.
differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in both shortage-subject
areas and high-need schools.
Rhode Island should encourage districts to link compensation to district needs. Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers.
Rhode Island recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state also asked: What would meet NCTQ expectations for what "support" means? What are some examples that aren't dictated by the state to every LEA and aren't only funded by the state? Would policy positions meet the expectation of support? "Our current RI status is similar to the next one. We don't have a formal policy, but LEAs may elect to pay higher salaries for shortage areas, for example."
Although 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, when it comes to addressing chronic shortages, states should do more than simply get out of the way. States should take steps to require additional compensation, especially for teachers teaching shortage subject areas and in high-needs schools—and ensure these policies are funded at adequate levels. A higher level of compensation may be the best way to ameliorate chronic shortages. Some states have yet to support differential pay but they do support incentives such as loan forgiveness, mortgage assistance, and tuition reimbursements and scholarships. While these incentives are certainly a step in the right direction, particularly in areas where budgetary constraints make it difficult to implement differential pay, they are unlikely to yield the same recruitment-related results. Many teachers may not find some of these support incentives meaningful because even the promise of bonuses and stipends may be viewed as unreliable from year to year, lessening their attractiveness.
8B: High-Need Schools and Subjects
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.