Saturday, October 3, 2015
Low response found to incentive program for high-performing teachers to transfer to low-performing schools
This paper examines behavioral responses to an incentive program that offers high-performing teachers in ten school districts across the country $20,000 to transfer into the district's hardest-to-staff schools. The paper discusses behavioral responses to the program on high-performing teachers’ willingness to transfer and the effect of the transfer offer on the internal dynamics of the receiving schools.
The paper reports low take-up rates among the 1,514 high-performing teachers who were offered the incentive, with minimal sorting on observable characteristics.
Within the new schools, transfer teachers were less likely than their counterparts in a randomized control group to require mentoring and more likely to provide mentoring themselves. No significant differences occurred in school climate, collegiality, or the way in which students were assigned to teachers, but evidence indicates that principals may have strategically assigned existing teachers to grades in both treatment and control schools in response to the quality of the incoming teachers.