The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia has implemented its differential pay program for math and science teachers despite continuing budget difficulties. The program pays new math and science teachers the same salary as a sixth-year teacher receives in other subjects. This gives a starting differential of just under $5,000 per year. (Thanks to Christine Johnson at FCR-STEM for pointing out this article)
Georgia has a statewide teacher salary schedule, and this makes it possible to implement such a program. For a comparison of the Georgia statewide schedule to schedules for several Florida counties, look at this post from January.
Florida statute has authorized differential pay for math and science teachers for many years, but to my knowledge not a single Florida district has implemented it. The new law on teacher quality and compensation (SB 736) also includes language authorizing salary supplements for math and science teachers. No word yet on whether any school district has included it in new compensation programs.
It is safe to say – based on the experience in Florida – that differential pay for math and science teachers cannot happen where teacher salary schedules are determined by collective bargaining. After all, where differential pay is implemented most teachers are left behind. The AJC article reports that Tim Callahan, spokesperson for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said about the differential pay plan, “What are we saying to our reading and social studies teachers?
Update (Thursday, 6:00 am): Ron Matus at Gradebook posted on this issue yesterday. The comments on the Gradebook post may have been representative of the larger teaching profession and are useful to reproduce here:
“Here’s a novel idea. Raise all teacher pay by 7-10 K and watch how much competition there is for teaching jobs…….you’ll get the best of the best in ALL areas.”
“Differential pay can and does happen where salaries are determined by collective bargaining, the state just has to give the districts enough general revenue funds (which they don’t) to it.”