Many education policymakers and practitioners across the country recognize the need to recruit and retain more racial and ethnic minorities into the teaching profession. As we’ve previously discussed in our ongoing teacher diversity series, there is credible evidence that minority teachers can boost a range of minority student outcomes, yet minorities are underrepresented among the population of public school teachers.
Could financial incentives help diversify the teacher workforce?
In this installment, we use school- and district-level data from the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) to examine this question. We explore whether districts that offer different types of financial incentives to teachers tend to have greater diversity among teachers within their schools.
Based on our analysis, we see a strong association between workforce diversity and four incentive policies that may be particularly attractive for minority teachers:
Offering relocation assistance appears to be the strongest predictor of a more diverse teacher workforce, followed closely by loan forgiveness, bonuses for excellence in teaching, and teaching in less desirable locations. These four types of financial incentives are associated with increases of 2 to 4 percentage points in a school’s minority representation among teachers, which is quite large. For reference, the average school in the sample reports that 16 percent of their teachers are minorities.
Signing bonuses, finder’s fees, being certified by the NBPTS, and teaching in shortage fields do not show a significant association with teacher diversity.