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Teacher compensation ‘incredibly inefficient’

Posted by on Monday, January 23, 2012 in Issue, Research News, Winter 2012.

Teacher salaries are largely set by schedules which are neither performance-related nor market-driven and have significant consequences on school staffing and workforce quality, new research from the National Center on Performance Incentives finds.

“We know the way in which we currently compensate K-12 public school teachers is incredibly inefficient,” said Matthew Springer, director of the federally-funded National Center on Performance Incentives and assistant professor of public policy and education. “The problem is that we have yet to find a better way.”

The new study, co-authored by Michael Podgursky of University of Missouri-Columbia, examined teacher compensation in the United States K-12 public school system and is featured in the National Tax Journal, a quarterly publication by the National Tax Association.

The authors conclude that an integrated and coherent compensation policy is the central core of an efficient human resource policy. In private and many public organizations, the compensation package is considered as a strategic whole and carefully designed to get the most human resource return per dollar of compensation. By contrast, in public K-12 education, the compensation system is fragmented and uncoordinated, with provisions often determined by means not based on systematic assessment of the overall incentive effects.

For more information: Teacher compensation systems in the United States K-12 public school system, Michael Podgursky, Matthew Springer, 64 National Tax Journal 165-92 (March 2011).


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