- A Playbook for Building Common Core Support Among Teachers - October 8, 2014
- Shifting Our Mindset Around Teacher Evaluations - September 3, 2014
- A Profession for My Generation - August 19, 2014
- The Difference Between Calculation and Mathematics - August 5, 2014
- Four Little Tips to Transform Your Classroom - August 5, 2014
- Just the Facts: Charter High School Performance in Memphis, TN - July 30, 2014
- Tennessee Education's Perception Problem - July 9, 2014
- Irrational Fears Prevent Real Common Core Progress - June 30, 2014
- Performance Based Tests Take the Guesswork Out of Assessing - June 4, 2014
- Teaching and the Off-Season - May 27, 2014
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A friend of mine, we will call him Mark, was considering teaching in two different charter schools this past spring. He had a clear first and second choice. However, his second choice would pay him significantly more than his top. After some haggling back and forth, Mark’s preferred choice was able to match the offer from his second choice and he ended up at his preferred first choice of schools.
Mark’s choice illustrates the role that money does play in determining where educators chose to teach. When forced to choose between schools, salary makes a difference. And even assuming that salaries are identical across all schools, work environment factors also come into play. If no financial incentive exists to push teachers towards high-need schools, educators have every incentive to gravitate towards higher performing schools with fewer challenges rather than those that are more in need of irreplaceable teachers.
When we identify irreplaceable educators, our goal shouldn’t just be to retain them where they are at. We should also make the effort to induce them to teach in the schools where they are needed the most. One mechanism to achieve this is a differentiated salary schedule that offers bonuses for teachers that choose to work in high-need schools.
Let me first offer the caveat that bonuses to retain and attract irreplaceables is not a fix. However, evidence suggests that bonuses to teach in high-need schools need to be enacted in the context of a comprehensive reform package designed to incorporate multiple strategies to induce teachers to change their behavior. To be considered an effective retention policy, the bonuses must be high enough to induce teachers to remain in the status quo. Evidence from Alabama and South Carolina found that significantly higher bonuses were required to entice teachers to move to a high-needs school. The minimum in these two cases was $5,000. Research in Denver and North Carolina suggests that bonuses close to $2,000 are sufficient to encourage retention of educators in high-need schools.
As already stated, these bonuses will not be enough on their own to change the behavior of our best and brightest educators. But we do know that educators include their salary as one important factor in their decision making process of where to teach. Given the evidence presented here, Memphis would do well to consider adopting bonuses to teach in high need schools as a component of any teacher compensation package.
Post originally appeared on bluffcityed.com on 10/30/13[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]