High-Need Schools and Subjects: Utah

Teacher Compensation Policy

Goal

The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal is reorganized for 2021.

Meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). High-Need Schools and Subjects: Utah results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/UT-High--Need-Schools-and-Subjects-96

Analysis of Utah's policies

Shortage-subject Areas: Utah teachers of subjects deemed as critical shortage areas by the state—secondary math, integrated science (grades 7 and 8), chemistry, physics, computer science, or special education—are eligible for an annual salary supplement of $4,100. Recent legislation defines an "eligible teacher" as one who is a new employee or received at least a satisfactory rating on the most recent evaluation. 

High-need Schools: Utah's National Board Certified teachers are eligible to receive a $1,000 bonus; those teaching at a Title I school are eligible for an additional $1,000 bonus, totaling $2,000.

Utah also offers an Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program, which offers salary bonuses to teachers who are employed in a high-poverty school and achieve a median growth percentile of 70 or higher. A high-poverty school is defined as one with more than 20% of students affected by intergenerational poverty or 70% or more qualifying for free or reduced lunch. However, there is no evidence on the state's website that this program is currently being funded.

Citation

Recommendations for Utah

Prioritize funding for teaching in high-need schools.
Utah has articulated policy to support differential pay and should therefore prioritize funding for teachers who teach in high-need schools. 


State response to our analysis

Utah recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Updated: March 2021

How we graded

8B: High-Need Schools and Subjects

  • Shortage-Subject Areas: The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage-subject areas.
  • High-Need Schools: The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in high-need schools.
Shortage-Subject Areas
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it explicitly supports differential pay in subject areas where there is a demonstrated educator shortage.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it partially supports differential benefits in subject areas where there is a demonstrated educator shortage (e.g., tuition reimbursement).
High-Need Schools
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it explicitly supports differential pay for teachers in high-need schools.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it partially supports differential benefits for teachers in high-need schools (e.g., tuition reimbursement).
**States will lose a quarter point overall for lack of funding that, in practice, fails to support differential pay for teachers in high-need schools and/or shortage subject areas. 


Research rationale

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.[1] 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.[2] Short of providing direct support, states can also use policy levers to indicate to districts that differential pay is not only permissible but necessary.


[1] For research that suggests 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, see: Feng, L., & Sass, T. R. (2016). Teacher quality and teacher mobility. Education Finance and Policy. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/1001506-teacher-quality-teacher-mobility.pdf; Another study found that the least effective teachers in high-poverty schools were considerably less effective than the least effective teachers in low-poverty schools. See: Sass, T. R., Hannaway, J., Xu, Z., Figlio, D. N., & Feng, L. (2012). Value added of teachers in high-poverty schools and lower poverty schools. Journal of Urban Economics, 72(2), 104-122. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/1001469-calder-working-paper-52.pdf
[2] Clotfelter, C., Glennie, E., Ladd, H., & Vigdor, J. (2008). Would higher salaries keep teachers in high-poverty schools? Evidence from a policy intervention in North Carolina. Journal of Public Economics, 92(5), 1352-1370. Retrieved from
Would Higher Salaries Keep Teachers in High-Poverty Schools? Evidence from a Policy Intervention in North Carolina; Kowal, J., Hassel, B. C., & Hassel, E. A. (2008). Financial incentives for hard-to-staff positions. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2008/11/pdf/hard_to_staff.pdf; 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: Kirby, S. N., Berends, M., & Naftel, S. (1999). Supply and demand of minority teachers in Texas: Problems and prospects. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(1), 47-66.