Teacher Compensation Initiative
Teacher shortages, while they have existed for decades, have reached crisis level for K-12 schools in all types of districts, with acute needs in certain geographic regions and teaching areas. This situation is the culmination of several factors. A ten-year decline in teacher preparation program enrollment, pandemic-generated early retirements, and teachers’ large workloads coupled with insufficient support and resources in many schools are major contributors, but low pay is the one consistent root cause that continues to create barriers to both recruitment and retention.
Teacher salaries are persistently low compared to salaries in similarly credentialed professions and have not kept pace with the increasing demands on these specialized professionals. Traditional teacher compensation models are typically inflexible and too complex to change due to historical inequities in education funding models and the localization of salary structures. The Teacher Compensation Initiative was developed to surface these challenges and find, articulate, and share with states and school districts creative ideas that could lead to larger solutions.
Talking Teacher Compensation: Experts Weigh In
WestEd launched the Teacher Compensation Initiative in November 2022 with a Washington, DC Roundtable of experts in policy, practice, and research, who met to discuss education funding, teacher compensation, and teacher shortages. Listen to what they have to say.
David Griffith, Associate Executive Director, Policy and Advocacy for the National Association of Elementary School Principals, discusses support among principals for increasing teacher compensation.
Emily Cunningham, former Chief of Staff with the Delaware Department of Education, discusses Delaware’s approach to increasing teacher compensation.
Special Education High School Teacher and 2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year Kareem Neal provides insights into the impact of a special education teacher shortage and how increased compensation can alleviate that shortage.
Celine Coggins, former Executive Director of Grantmakers for Education, shares what philanthropies can do and have done in the effort to increase teacher compensation.
Sherri Ybarra, former State Superintendent at the Idaho Department of Education, provides insights on how the department increased teacher pay in a predominantly rural state.
Craig Statucki, Interim Deputy Director of the Nevada Department of Education, recounts how the department recently increased teacher pay to make Nevada teacher salaries more competitive.
Nicholas Ferroni, Teacher at Union High School, describes the importance of increasing teacher pay and highlights what he believes is missing from the national conversation on teacher salaries.
Money Matters: Conversations About Teacher Compensation
WestEd Chief Program Officer Sabrina Laine discusses past efforts to solve teacher shortages and explains why the time is right to pursue increasing teacher compensation to recruit and retain educators.
WestEd’s Gretchen Weber and Ellen Sherratt of the Teacher Salary Project dispel some of the most commonly perpetuated myths about teacher compensation.
In this blog post, the third in the Money Matters: Conversations About Teacher Compensation Series, WestEd’s Kate Wright and Gretchen Weber discuss differentiated staffing, its benefits, and possible barriers to implementation.
In this blog post, WestEd’s Dana Grayson Chambers and Jason Willis walk through two approaches that can help implement and sustain increased teacher compensation.