UW News

February 11, 2010

Districts have options when it comes to teacher salary inequities

School districts can take steps to level out salary inequities caused by maldistributions of teachers, according to researchers at the UW’s Center on Reinventing Public Education.

The researchers addressed the trend of higher-paid, more experienced teachers gravitating toward more affluent schools while poorer schools are assigned less-experienced, lower-paid teacher in inequities in Beyond Teacher Reassignments: Better Ways Districts Can Remedy Salary Inequities Across Schools, the seventh “rapid response” brief in the “Schools in Crisis: Making Ends Meet” series. The briefs are designed to bring relevant fiscal analyses to policymakers amidst the current economic crisis.

In the brief, Marguerite Roza, research associate professor and senior scholar at the center, and Sarah Yatsko, its research coordinator, suggest four options districts could pursue to remedy school spending. They are:

  • use bonuses to balance salaries
  • vary class sizes to level spending
  • concentrate specialist and staff support in schools with lower-salaried teachers, and
  • equalize per-pupil dollar allocations

Roza and Yatsko write, “District leaders pledge vigorously to close achievement gaps, and yet year after year (via salary inequities) they spend fewer state and local dollars on those very schools with the lowest-performing students.”

The UW’s Center on Reinventing Public Education engages in independent research and policy analysis on a range of K-12 public education reform issues, including choice & charters, finance & productivity, teachers, urban district reform, leadership, and state & federal reform. The full report on salary inequities can be downloaded here.