Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Today, as teacher compensation concerns continue nationwide, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its Strategic Teacher Compensation Databurst, a study of states’ strategic teacher compensation policies. This resource includes a snapshot of all 50 states’ and the District of Columbia’s teacher compensation policies as they relate to providing additional compensation for effective teacher performance, teaching in high-need schools and subjects, and relevant, prior non-teaching work experience.

Among all states and the District of Columbia, only nine states require districts to consider performance in teacher pay, and only three states direct districts to make adjustments in starting salary for new teachers with relevant prior work experience.  More promisingly, over half of all states - 35 - take steps to incentive teaching in high-need schools and/or subjects by explicitly supporting additional compensation or incentives for such teachers.

Utah and Louisiana stand out for their policies that direct districts to consider performance in teacher pay and reward teachers for working in high-needs schools and subjects. As part of their teacher pay policies, Louisiana enables districts to provide stipends to teachers in critical shortage subjects and low-performing or Title I schools. Utah’s Effective Teachers in High Poverty School Program offers annual salary bonuses of up to $5,000 to effective teachers employed in high-poverty schools who achieve a median growth percentile of 70 or higher.

“The goal of Utah’s educator pay structure is to attract more qualified educators into hard-to-staff fields and to attract and retain more effective educators in every classroom so that each Utah student graduates from high school equipped with the knowledge and skills to have choices for their future,” said Sydnee Dickson, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In addition to comprehensive data on each state’s efforts to address teacher salaries, this resource includes regional best practices to guide states in similar local contexts. It also provides concrete recommendations for states to improve their efforts, urging states to first provide districts with the flexibility to set pay structures and scales, while preserving their right to establish adequate minimum salary. This resource then encourages states to:
  1. Set parameters regarding district considerations for developing compensation systems, including considerations related to teacher effectiveness, teaching in high-need schools and shortage subject areas, and relevant, prior, non-teaching work experience; and
  2. Work with districts to identify funding, either at the state or district level, and support successful implementation of such policies so that their impact can be fully realized.

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