The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-needs areas.
Virginia supports incentives earned by teaching certain subjects. As part of its Middle School Teachers Corps, the state provides
incentives for experienced middle-school math teachers to teach in schools
designated as "at-risk in mathematics." In addition, each year the state releases the top ten "critical shortage teaching areas." It uses this list to determine candidate eligibility for its scholarship loan program, which offers loan repayment for teachers in subject shortage areas.
Virginia supports differential pay for those teaching in high-needs schools. The state encourages local school boards to offer teachers in hard-to-staff, low-income schools incentives such as "increased compensation, improved retirement benefits,...increased deferred compensation,...relocation expenses, bonuses and other incentives as may be determined by the board."
Teachers who are National Board Certified are eligible to receive an initial award of $5,000, with subsequent awards of $2,500. However, this type of differential pay is not tied to high-needs schools or subject-area shortages.
Expand differential pay for teachers in subject shortage areas.
Virginia should consider expanding its differential pay initiative to support other shortage areas beyond middle school mathematics. In addition, although the state's loan forgiveness program is a desirable recruitment and retention tool for teachers early in their careers, Virginia should expand its program to include those already part of the teaching pool. A salary differential is an attractive incentive for every teacher, not just those with education debt.
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.
Virginia pointed out that the state is piloting performance pay in hard-to-staff schools and schools for improvement.