Policymakers have grappled in recent years with strategies for improving the effectiveness of the teaching workforce, particularly that segment serving students in poverty. There is a growing consensus that state and district systems for attracting, evaluating, developing, compensating, and retaining effective teachers are in need of a major overhaul. Three polls find that inexperienced teachers are open to reforms to one of these systems–compensation systems.
A number of promising compensation reform programs have shown that changes in payment structures often include upgrades to other systems as well, such as those needed for evaluating and developing teachers. It is unclear whether inexperienced teachers will continue to support differentiated compensation as they become more experienced, but these findings indicate that the time is ripe for targeting differentiated compensation to new teachers at the federal, state, and district level.
Targeting these new teachers is critical. Reforming the profession in ways that appeal to them could help increase the retention rates of the effective teachers in this group. Several forms of differentiated compensation reward the most effective teachers, hopefully increasing the proportion of highly effective teachers in the profession. And it is likely that these teachers will be more supportive of differentiated compensation as veterans if they have a positive experience with it early on in their career. If districts want to reform compensation systems more broadly, it is important that they eventually have veterans on board with these reforms.