PACE Event

Salary Incentives and Teacher Quality

The Role of Compensation in Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Research consistently shows that teacher quality is a powerful determinant of student achievement gains, yet, urban school districts often struggle to staff their schools with qualified teachers. This problem seems to begin with teacher recruitment. In order to improve teacher recruitment, a popular intervention for urban school districts is raising teacher salaries to improve the school district’s attractiveness within the local labor market.

Yet little is known about the effectiveness of such interventions. With education budgets under increasing stress it is more important now than ever to understand the extent to which teacher salary policies can help to make the distribution of teachers across schools and school districts more equitable, and thus improve the quality of instruction for students with the greatest needs.

In this seminar Susanna Loeb and Heather Hough will present evidence on the effect of a differential salary increase on teacher recruitment and retention in the San Francisco Unified School District. Their evidence shows that the policies implemented in SFUSD following the approval of a local parcel tax initiative helped to improve the district’s attractiveness within the regional labor market for teachers, increasing both the size and quality of the teacher applicant pool.

These findings suggest that even relatively small changes in compensation policies may be effective as a lever for redistributing teachers, which is encouraging given the substantially unequal sorting of teacher quality across California’s schools and school districts.