3.4 Distribute Teachers to Schools
Schools with high concentrations of low income and minority students need effective and well-prepared teachers. However, these schools often have some of the toughest working conditions in the education system. Within a few years, talented teachers in many of these schools either leave the profession or move to a school where there are fewer distractions and more support.
There are at least two basic approaches to affect where talented teachers work: “push” and “pull.”
“Push” approaches directly assign teachers to schools, modifying collective bargaining agreements where necessary to increase the power of the district to deploy human resources centrally.
“Pull” approaches use incentives to attract effective teachers to choose such assignments on their own. Such incentives include promises about working conditions, recruitment of a strong school leader, arrangements to move teachers as a group, reduced or flexible work assignments, and (occasionally) increased compensation.
Because inexperienced teachers earn lower wages than experienced ones, a school with a large percentage of inexperienced teachers has low staff costs. If the ratio of students to teachers in such a school is the same as that in a school with high staff costs, the net effect is that the costlier school with more experienced teachers is subsidized by the one with less experienced teachers. Usually, this means that money flows away from educating poor kids. This pattern occurs frequently, as documented by Education Trust West in its report The Hidden Gap. In order to expose and confront this inequitable practice, Oakland Unified School District uses actual salary costs in its personnel accounting. It was the first district in America to adopt this practice.