Do Financial Incentives Help Low-Performing Schools Attract and Keep Academically Talented Teachers? Evidence from California
This study capitalizes on a natural experiment that occurred in California between 2000 and 2002. In those years, the state offered a competitively allocated $20,000 incentive called the Governor's Teaching Fellowship (GTF) aimed at attracting academically talented, novice teachers to low-performing schools and retaining them in those schools for at least four years. Taking advantage of data on the career histories of 27,106 individuals who pursued California teaching licenses between 1998 and 2003, we use an instrumental variables strategy to estimate the unbiased impact of the GTF on the decisions of recipients to begin working in low-performing schools within two years after licensure program enrollment. We estimate that GTF recipients would have been less likely to teach in low-performing schools than observably similar counterparts had the GTF not existed, but that acquiring a GTF increased their probability of doing so by 28 percentage points. Examining retention patterns, we find that 75 percent of both GTF recipients and non-recipients who began working in low-performing schools remained in such schools for at least four years.
We would like to thank the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for each funding portions of this research. We are also grateful to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), and the California State University Chancellor's Office (CSUCO) for providing the data, and particularly to Karen Vogel-Henderson, Catalina Mistler, Steve Caldwell, and Paula Rockwell at the CSAC; Dale Janssen, Marjorie Suckow, and Erin Duff at the CCTC; and Sabine Ghobriel, Daba Asemebo, and Beverly Young of the CSUCO. In addition, we appreciate the insights into the Governor's Teaching Fellowship provided by Ellen Curtis-Pierce, Philip Curtis, Anita Flemington, and Debby Ford. Portions of this study were presented at the 2007 Fall Conference of the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, and the 2008 Fall Education Meeting of the National Bureau of Economic Research. We thank Bridget Terry Long, Brian Jacob, Guido Imbens, and Caroline Hoxby for comments on earlier drafts. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not represent those of the project sponsors, the RAND Corporation, any of its sponsors, or the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Jennifer L. Steele & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2010. "Do financial incentives help low-performing schools attract and keep academically talented teachers? Evidence from California," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(3), pages 451-478. citation courtesy of