What financial incentives are most effective in attracting teachers of color?
- Researchers from the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution examined the issue of minority underrepresentation among public school educators and found four incentive policies that statistically seemed more attractive to minority educators.
- Offering relocation assistance seems to the strongest predictor in increasing teacher diversity, followed by loan forgiveness programs, bonuses for excellence in teaching and bonuses for teaching is less desirable locations.
- Financial incentives that proved statistically less effective included signing bonuses, paying a finder’s fee to existing staff members for referrals of teachers who were hired, bonuses for certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and bonuses for teaching in fields or subject areas with shortages.
Much research has been done about the dearth of minority educators and why they are needed in the classroom. Effective teachers of color not only serve as excellent teachers, but they can also serve as role models for students in school, even if that student is not in their classroom. However, little research has been done on specific financial incentives that might attract these teachers to a school district.
It is no surprise that researchers discovered that many minority educators come from impoverished backgrounds. For them, financial incentives that help them get established in a new environment and help pay off student loans are not a want, but a necessity. As school districts take into consideration ways to attract minority educators to their school district, these basic needs should be considered. Financial incentives can be used in combination with other home-grown approaches to attracting minority candidates and with strategic relationships with colleges that largely serve minority students.
Once administrators attract these teachers, they need to work to retain them. Minority teachers often leave the classroom because of working conditions, stress, and lack of voice in school decisions. Administrators can ensure greater staff stability by addressing these issues so that minority teachers can succeed.