2015 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy
The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas.
Texas does not support differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects. The state allows teachers to seek out certification in master reading, master mathematics, master science or master technology. Master teachers at high-need schools are eligible for an annual stipend of $5,000; however, this comes with additional responsibility for classroom instruction
as well as mentoring other teachers.
A teacher can earn additional pay by working at a high-need school. Texas has a Careers to Classrooms Program, which gives $5,000 in grants to assist future teachers in obtaining certification so that they may work in schools with high concentrations of educationally disadvantaged students.
Texas Education Code 21.0481-0484; 21.410- 413; 21.602-611
Support differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in subject-shortage areas.
Texas should encourage districts to link compensation to district needs. Such policies can help districts achieve a more equitable distribution of teachers.
Texas asserted that local districts have the flexibility to implement differential pay initiatives for effective teachers in subject-shortage areas. The state pointed to the Texas Association of School Boards as a good resource for the variety of ways school districts compensate employees.
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.
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.