The state should support differential pay for effective teaching in shortage and high-need areas. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.
Shortage-subject areas: West Virginia does not support differential pay by which a teacher can earn additional compensation by teaching certain subjects; however, the state offers a loan assistance program to teachers who agree to teach a subject area of critical need or in a school or geographic area identified as an area of critical need. Each teacher is eligible to receive up to $3,000 annually, for a maximum of five years, for a total available award amount of $15,000. The state also offers tuition reimbursement for teaching in shortage-subject areas.
High-need schools: West Virginia provides a teacher-mentoring increment of $2,000 for classroom teachers with National Board certification who teach and mentor at persistently low-performing schools. Districts are permitted to use other available funds, federal and local, to provide incentives for highly qualified teachers to teach at low-performing schools. The state also offers tuition reimbursement for teaching in high-need schools.
West Virginia Code 18A-4-1; 18A-4-2C; 18A-3-3a Policy 5202 http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/
Expand differential pay initiatives for teachers in shortage-subject areas.
Although the state's loan forgiveness program is a desirable recruitment and retention tool for teachers early in their careers, West Virginia should expand its program to include those who are already part of the teaching pool. A salary differential is an attractive incentive for every teacher, not just early career teachers with education debt.
West Virginia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.