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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


There is no question that classrooms in US public schools do not function without an adult responsible for facilitating student learning. There is less agreement, however, regarding what constitutes quality instruction or what credentials an instructor should have in order to be considered a certified teacher. Low enrollment in teacher preparation programs combined with increasing teacher turnover rates have created a shortage of quality educators in districts across the country for high-need schools and subject areas. Educators, labor activists, and politicians have called for teacher compensation reform as a way to increase the teacher retention rate. This article summarizes research on the impact of individual and group incentive pay schemes on student achievement, reviews alternative financial incentives to retain exceptional educators, and evaluates policy proposals to improve teacher salaries from current and former 2020 presidential candidates.

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