While investing in the teacher workforce is central to improving schools, school resources are notoriously limited, forcing school leaders to make difficult decisions on how to prioritize funds. A new paper from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University examines a critical input to resource allocation decisions: teacher preferences. Using an original, online discrete choice survey experiment with a national sample of 1,030 U.S. teachers, the researchers estimate how much teachers value different features of a hypothetical teaching job.
The findings show that:
- Teachers value access to special education specialists, counselors, and nurses more than a 10% salary increase or 3-student reduction in class size
- Investments in school counselors and nurses are strikingly cost-effective, as the value teachers alone place on each of these support roles far exceeds the per teacher cost of funding these positions
- Teachers who are also parents treat a 10% salary increase and a child care subsidy of similar value as near perfect substitutes
These novel estimates of teachers’ willingness to pay for student-based support professionals challenge the idea that inadequate compensation lies at the root of teacher workforce challenges and illustrate that reforms that exclusively focus on salary as a lever for influencing teacher mobility (e.g. transfer incentives) may be poorly aligned to teachers’ preferences.
For more, see: https://edworkingpapers.com/sites/default/files/ai22-528.pdf