Salary incentives and teacher quality : the effect of a compensation increase on teacher recruitment and retention in the San Francisco Unified School District
- Research consistently shows that teacher quality is a powerful determinant of student achievement gains. It has also been shown that urban school districts serving low-performing, low-income, and/or minority students have a less-qualified teacher workforce. This disparity can be traced back to both teacher recruitment and retention; urban school districts have a harder time recruiting teachers, and their retention rates are much lower than surrounding districts in the labor market. In order to improve teacher recruitment and retention, an increasingly popular intervention for urban school districts is raising teacher salaries, often in targeted areas. While there is evidence to suggest that teachers respond to compensation in deciding to become or remain teachers, there is little empirical research studying the effectiveness of compensation increases in recruiting or retaining high-quality teachers in high-need schools and districts. To address this gap, this dissertation assesses the effect of a salary increase on teacher recruitment and retention in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Specifically, I examine the effect of the Quality Teacher and Education Act of 2008 (QTEA), which introduced an overall salary increase ($500-6,300, varying by placement on the salary schedule), a $2,000 bonus for teaching in a hard-to-staff school, a $1,000 bonus for teaching in a hard-to-fill subject, and retention bonuses ($2,500 after the 4th year and $3,000 after the 8th year). In teacher recruitment, I show that QTEA's salary increase improved SFUSD's attractiveness within the local teacher labor market and increased both the size and quality of the teacher applicant pool. Furthermore, I show that such changes to the applicant pool led to moderate improvements in the quality of new-hires. In teacher retention, the pattern of results shows that QTEA had only a minor (if any) effect. It appears that QTEA's possible effect was limited by the economic downturn corresponding with the policy's implementation. Teacher retention increases during this time period (because high local unemployment rates limited alternative employment options) leave little room for QTEA to have an additional effect. The analyses in this dissertation provide a first step in understanding the potential effect of policies like QTEA in improving the quality of the teacher workforce in urban school districts. The fact that I am able to detect change in teacher recruitment in such a short time provides an indication that compensation increases, even of a relatively small size, can be used as a lever for redistributing teachers, which is particularly important given the substantially unequal sorting of teacher quality across schools and districts.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Hough, Heather Joan
|Stanford University, School of Education.
|Statement of responsibility
|Heather J. Hough.
|Submitted to the School of Education.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
- © 2012 by Heather Joan Hough
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