More and more states are struggling to find enough teachers to fill their classrooms, and keeping current teachers on staff is another growing concern. Teacher compensation is one reason for these challenges.

One tool used to attract and retain teachers is statewide salary schedules, an instrument that 17 states currently have in place. Additionally, salary schedules are viewed as a way to help equalize pay between school districts. Though not a soundproof solution, salary schedules can help close the gap between the highest-paid and lowest-paid teachers in a state.

A new education policy analysis from Education Commission of the States, State teacher salary schedules, addresses four key policy questions around the subject:

  • How do salary schedules work?
  • Why do states institute salary schedules?
  • What policy issues exist with salary schedules?
  • What are the alternatives to salary schedules?

“Salary schedules are one of a handful of ways states can influence teacher pay in districts,” said Michael Griffith, school finance strategist for Education Commission of the States. “There also are pay-for-performance programs, incentives based on experience and the use of minimum starting salaries.”

Some key takeaways from this report:

  • 17 states currently make use of statewide teacher salary schedules to guarantee some level of minimum pay for teachers based on qualifications and years of experience.
  • States use salary schedules as a tool to recruit and retain qualified teachers and as a way to ensure some level of equalization of teacher salaries across districts.
  • State policymakers need to keep in mind that school districts can view the implementation of a statewide salary schedule as both a loss of control over local education policies and as a possible unfunded mandate.

For questions, contact Education Commission of the States Communications Specialist Brady Delander at or (303) 299.3622.

Tweet this ECS report!

  • New @edcommission report on statewide teacher salary schedules #edpolicy
  • 17 states use teacher salary schedules to guarantee min pay for teachers based on qualifications & experience @edcommission
  • State teacher salary schedules may be viewed as loss of control, unfunded mandate or equalization of salaries @edcommission

Related ECS resources that you’ll find useful:

 PUBLISHED: March 16, 2016

 AUTHOR(S): Unspecified



 STATE(S): Nationwide

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