State Summaries



To address literacy instruction, the state has created a nationally recognized program that provides high quality professional development through the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI). Schools that volunteer to participate adopt a goal of 100 percent literacy for their students. Teachers are then trained in teams - at least 85 percent of the faculty including the principal - must participate in a 10 to 13 day summer intensive program. Schools and local systems then must designate and support a full-time reading specialist who spends half time with struggling readers and the other half coaching teachers. Specialists attend monthly advanced training sessions, sharing new techniques with teachers at their school. Higher education faculty work as mentors, connected to each school to provide support, demonstration and research. The state also has worked to increase its funding for teacher salaries by granting a six percent minimum salary increase for teachers beginning in fiscal year 2005-06. Also, the legislature enacted legislation in 2003 requiring the state Board of Education to create bonuses for teachers in hard-staff subjects and schools, but funding for the legislation was defeated by the voters. (Last updated 2008)


Alaska has enacted state policies to recruit and retain teachers, particularly in hard-to-staff isolated areas of the state. These policies include participation in a recruitment network, a loan forgiveness program and housing incentives. Alaska also holds the University of Alaska accountable for its efforts to attract, train and retain qualified teachers by requiring an annual report outlining the University's current effort and future plans to close the gap between known teacher employment vacancies in the state and the number of state residents who complete teacher training. In 2006, Alaska began piloting a performance pay system for teachers to serve as an incentive for all employees in a school to create a learning environment in which student achievement substantially increases. (Last updated 2008)


In 2000, Arizona voters approved Proposition 301 that increased sales tax by 0.6 cents, providing about $445 million annually for education. Twenty percent goes to across-the-board base teacher pay, 40 percent goes or performance-based pay increases, while the remaining 40 percent goes toward site selected initiatives such as limiting class size, additional compensation increases, professional development, dropout prevention and/or teacher liability insurance. Local districts and charter schools can design programs based at least in part on student achievement with minimal guidance from the state. In 2005, the legislature established the 12-member Arizona Performance Based Pay Task Force to conduct evaluations of school districts' performance based compensation systems to determine the effectiveness of the locally designed systems. In 2008, the state established the Alternative Teacher Development Program and tightened teacher background checks and disciplinary action for inappropriate student-teacher relationships. (Last updated 2008)


Arkansas began implementing teaching quality reform initiatives on several fronts a decade ago, after the development of a Title II Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant was coordinated by the Department of Education and the Higher Education Coordinating Board. Many of these reforms focused on teacher preparation and greater coordination through the state's P-16 Partnership Task Force and its nine local P-16 Councils. Arkansas has also developed a mentoring system to help graduates make the transition into teaching, adopting Education Testing Services' Pathwise mentor training program. Arkansas has also focused on teacher pay incentives to recruit and retain teachers in hard-to-staff schools and subjects through bonuses and performance incentives. In 2007, Arkansas provided bonuses for STEM teachers and created the "Rewarding Excellence in Achievement Program," a pilot program allowing school districts and public charter schools the opportunity to provide compensation incentives to recruit and retain teachers and encourage them to improve their knowledge and instructional skills in order to improve student learning. (Last updated 2008)


Over the past decade, California faced severe teacher shortages due to booming student enrollment and class size reduction policies. In the wake of requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act for "highly qualified teachers", California has tightened up its licensing/credentialing procedures to move fully credentialed, highly qualified teachers into classrooms that were previously staffed with teachers with emergency credentials. In 2006, the state implemented a statewide teacher database, known as the California Longitudinal Teacher Integrated Data System, to house employment information using unique teacher identifiers to better inform the state about teacher preparation, recruitment and retention efforts. California also has worked to improve the quality of staff development. However, the state currently faces severe budget woes, and funding for current policies remain in question. (Last updated 2008)


Over the past decade, Colorado focused its efforts to prepare recruit and retain high-quality teachers. In 2000, Colorado instituted performance-based standards for teacher preparation. All preparation programs must align to redesigned content standards that coordinate with state-mandated accountability tests for all Colorado public school students. Several reports have been issued on the state of teaching in Colorado, and several high profile groups of state policymakers and stakeholders also have development recommendations, helping state policymakers to focus their efforts where its needed most. Colorado has explored unique teacher identifiers to tie teacher and student performance. Colorado now offers stipends for National Board Certified Teachers, requires biennial teaching and learning conditions surveys, provides funding to one or more districts to support the design and development of an alternative teacher compensation plan through the Alternative Teacher Compensation Plan Grant Program. The state Board of Education also has allowed one of its largest urban districts, Douglas County School District, to run its own alternative licensure program to licensure its own teachers in subject areas with severe shortages of qualified candidates through traditional and state-wide alternative routes. (Last updated 2008)


Since its initial investments in 1986 with the Education Enhancement Act, Connecticut has received national attention for its student achievement growth and innovative approaches to teaching quality. While substantial investments in teacher salaries keep it perennially ranked among the top states, the state's well-supported systemic approach - from teacher preparation to professional development-aligned around student and teacher standards makes it unique. Perhaps most noteworthy was its Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) program, where new teachers receive school-based support by mentors or a support team, and in their second year they must create a highly structured portfolio. As of July 1, 2009, however, new teachers will no longer be required to participate in the BEST program and funding for the program is eliminated. Instead, a 21-member task force will develop a new mentor assistance program to replace the BEST program starting in the 2009-10 school year and recommend transition procedures between the old and new programs. (Last updated 2008)


In 2000, Delaware enacted SB 260, the Educator Accountability Act, establishing a Professional Standards Board charged with revamping the teaching quality system, including preparation, evaluation, compensation and professional development. Since that time, PBS recommendations have been implemented including changes to certification due to requirements of No Child Left Behind and the creation of a tiered system. The Board's current mission is to assure competence and promote excellence among professional educators to meet the needs of the community of learners in the state. In 2008, the Budget Bill, SB 300, put a moratorium on all new participation in professional development clusters, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification program and all national certification supplements. (Last updated 2008)


Florida has been proactive in its efforts to recruit and retain teachers while facing a shortage of highly qualified teachers over the past decade. Over the past several years, Florida has introduced several versions of teacher performance pay, and in 2007 eventually enacted the Merit Award Program, a voluntary performance pay program for instructional personnel and school based administrators. School districts must adopt plans that would designate the outstanding performers, who would receive a merit-based pay supplement of at least five percent, but no more than 10 percent of the district's average teacher's salary. School districts would determine eligibility for the merit-based pay supplement based upon student academic proficiency, learning gains, or both as measured by statewide standardized assessments and local district-determined assessments, as well as other performance factors. At least 60 percent of the overall personnel evaluation must relate to student performance and up to 40 percent must relate to professional practices. The legislation allows the participation of charter schools, provides for an annual compliance review by the Commissioner of Education, and requires status reports to the Legislature and the Governor on the implementation of pay plans. Florida also now allows the use of various teaching strategies such as team teaching, co-teaching and inclusion teaching in order to implement class-size reduction. (Last updated 2008)


In 2000, the state passed the A Plus Education Reform Act (HB 1187), a comprehensive policy with significant implications for teaching quality in Georgia. The law mandates that teachers pass a computer skills competence test to renew their certificate and that evaluations of performance include student achievement and communication skills with parents, students, teachers, administrators and others. Tenure was eliminated under the law. Teachers who receive an unsatisfactory evaluation do not advance on the state salary schedule, and teachers receiving two unsatisfactory annual performance evaluations in a five-year period are no longer entitled to a renewable certificate. In 2005, Georgia's Professional Standards Commission established criteria for Master Teacher Certification regarding the eligibility of teachers with three or more years of teaching experience in Georgia. The state also has established an Academic Coach Program to provide certificated public school teachers who exhibit excellence in the classroom with salary supplements or bonuses in exchange for mentoring other public school teachers. In 2008, the legislature created a Joint Study Committee on Teacher Training and Certification to thoroughly study teacher preparation and certification processes and make recommendations for improvement by the end of the year. (Last updated 2008)


As the only state without local school districts, issues normally determined at the local level such as compensation and evaluation are often determined by state teaching quality policy. To address the severe shortage of qualified teachers in Hawaii, the state has implemented several programs to recruit new teachers, including a Teacher Cadet Program, state-wide Teach for America, loan forgiveness, and increased incentives for National Board Certified teachers. In fact, in 2007, the legislature approved an additional $5,000 bonus per year for each public school teacher who maintains current national board certification and who teaches at: (A) A school that is in restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act, (B) A school with a high turnover rate, as determined by the department, (C) A school that is not making adequate yearly progress, but is not in restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act, or (D) A hard-to-fill school, as determined by the department. In 2008, Hawaii also enacted legislation providing significant support for distance education and online learning, including training and support for on-line teachers. (Last updated 2008)


Over the past decade, Idaho has continued to struggle to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers, especially in rural areas of the state. Idaho has revamped licensure standards to meet requirements of No Child Left Behind and created an effective Highly Objective Uniform State System of Evaluation (HOUSSE) to address licensing requirements of veteran teachers. However, the state continues to face significant challenges. In 2008, the legislature called for the Superintendent of Public Instruction to conduct a study and develop plans that address the challenges of rural schools, including recruitment of qualified teachers. The state also has considered alternative pay plans, but has not yet enacted this reform. (Last updated 2008)


Over the past decade, Illinois has enacted numerous policies in an effort to recruit and retain teachers in hard-to-staff schools and subjects. The state has implemented the Teach Illinois Scholarship Program to attract teachers to areas of identified shortages for at least 5 years. Illinois also offers the Teacher Homebuyer Act to provide down payment assistance to public school teachers who teach in hard-to-staff schools or subjects for a home within the school district. The Grow Our Own Teacher Education Act was enacted in 2004 to attract local parents and community members who might not otherwise be eligible to teach through other alternative certification paths to classrooms in hard-to-staff areas. Local school districts partner with teacher preparation programs to prepare and license local community members to teach in the community. To retain both beginning and veteran teachers, the state now required induction and mentoring for all new teachers and has directed local school boards with an overall shortage of highly qualified teachers to must spend at least 40 percent of Title II dollars on professional development for teachers until there is no longer a teacher shortage. (Last updated 2008)


Established in 1992, the Indiana Professional Standards Board - one of the most autonomous in the country - has been crucial in moving toward a performance-based licensing system. These licenses are based on a set of standards passed in 1998 that include 12 content-specific and four general development teaching standards. The portfolio review, a high stakes assessment of a curriculum-based unit necessary to move toward attaining a professional license is based on Connecticut's Beginning Education Support and Training program and has a similar portfolio handbook to guide new teachers through the assessment process. In 2007, the state began granting an initial standard teacher's license for a specific subject area in middle school or high school to an applicant who has earned a postgraduate degree in the subject area, has experience teaching students, and complies with certain requirements for licensure and allows an individual licensed through the process to be hired to teach in high school, or in middle school in a shortage area designated by the state board of education. (Last updated 2008)


In 2001, Iowa passed SF 476, its student achievement and teaching quality program, setting up career paths with compensation based on locally derived performance measures, as well funding mentoring, professional development and a team-based performance pay pilot. However, this tiered licensure program and pay pilot was never fully funded or implemented. In 2005, the legislature enacted legislation again establishing framework for performance pay, and the governor created the Pay for Performance Commission within the executive branch to investigate and recommend implementation strategies. In the end, the commission did not recommend a state-wide performance pay system and instead suggested amendments to existing language if pilots were to be authorized and embraced working within the current system to move toward change compensation and career ladders for teachers. (Last updated 2008)


As one of the few states that prepare more teachers than are needed by the state in most areas of practice, recent policy in Kansas has addressed state teacher attrition by focusing on teacher retention through mentoring and professional development. Like many other states, however, Kansas has a shortage of STEM and special education teachers and has enacted policies to recruit and retain teachers in these fields. In 2005, the state enacted an income tax credit for tax years 2005-2007 for business firms that enter into partnership agreements with school districts to employ teachers during times when schools are not regularly in session. In order for the business firms to qualify for the credits, the teachers, who would be required to hold Kansas teaching certificates with endorsements in mathematics, science, physics, chemistry or biology, also would be required to be employed in positions requiring math or science skills commensurate with the classes they regularly teach. Kansas also has created a special education teacher service scholarship program administered by the Kansas Board of Regents. The legislation allows up to 50 students per year to be given $3,000 each semester. Recipients must teacher special education on a full-time basis for at least three years. (Last updated 2008)


Since the passage of the landmark Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 and the Postsecondary Improvement Act of 1997, Kentucky has devoted significant resources to enhancing teacher quality. However, because the number of certified teachers in the state continues to decline, Kentucky continues to take steps to improve teacher preparation, training, and recruitment. Kentucky's Education Professional Standards Board plays a central role in determining the state's teacher curricula, licensure and certification requirements, professional development requirements and teacher quality leadership for the state. In 2008, Kentucky enacted several policies to recruit and retain Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers. The legislature established the Science and Mathematics Advancement Fund; required the Council on Postsecondary Education to create a STEM Initiative Task Force; and provided incentives and a supportive environment for students, teachers, and institutions that pursue, succeed, and excel in the STEM disciplines throughout the P-20 educational pipeline. The legislature also established a certification incentive fund to support the development of institutes for persons pursuing Option 7 of the alternative certification routes in high-need areas and established priority for the institutes for purpose of certifying high school science, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and computer sciences teachers and middle school mathematics and earth science teachers. (Last updated 2008)


Since May 2000, when the state's Blue Ribbon Commission on Teaching Quality issued its recommendations around recruiting and preparing quality teachers, Louisiana has made significant teaching quality reforms in teacher preparation, teacher recruitment and retention. In the wake of two major hurricanes, the state and local districts have ramped up efforts to provide housing and other incentives to recruit and retain teachers in hard-hit areas, including New Orleans. In fact, in 2008, the legislature has required the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to study several areas of teacher quality, including reciprocity, use of foreign teachers, professional development, national board certification and other areas to assist the state with recruitment and retention of teachers. The state has worked to create a data system where teacher and student information are housed and the state is able to track teachers and where they are prepared. Starting in 2008, the state now requires local districts to interview all teachers leaving their positions to obtain information that might assist the state and districts to retain more teachers. (Last updated 2008)


With every 7th and 8th grade student and teacher receiving a laptop as part of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, ensuring sufficient training and professional development of its teaching corps will be essential in the state. The state's university system has more than 150 partnerships with public schools and the institutions and agencies that support them to provide preparation and professional development, in particular around the adoption of local standards and assessments under the state's Maine Learning Results accountability system. The teacher certification laws now include performance standards for provisional teacher certification and allows the board of education to determine competency areas based on, but not limited to the following: Provisional certification to teach in elementary or secondary school requires a bachelor's degree from a four-year accredited institution, or an approved four-year teacher preparation program with either a major in the subject area to be taught, or an interdisciplinary program in liberal arts. Candidates for provisional certification also can meet requirements by meeting other standards at the board's discretion. (Last updated 2008)


Like many other states, Maryland is facing regional and subject specific shortages in areas such as special education, science and math. The state provides much support to help prepare teachers-Resident Teacher Certificate, The Distinguished Scholar Teacher Education Program, Sharon Christa McAuliffe Memorial Teacher Education Award, Maryland Teacher Scholarship-and retain them through signing bonuses, support for National Board Certification, tax credits to offset graduate tuition costs, salary increases and housing support. A classroom teacher or other non-administrative school-based employee who holds a standard professional certificate or an advanced professional certificate who is employed by a county board and who holds a certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards receives a stipend from the State in an amount equal to the county grant for national certification, up to a maximum of $2,000 per qualified individual. An individual who graduates from an accredited university with a grade point average of between 3.5 and 4.0 and remains a classroom teacher with a school district for a minimum of three years will receive a signing bonus of $1,000. A teacher who holds an Advance Professional Certificate and is teaching in a school designated as in corrective action, a school in restructuring, or a challenge school shall receive a $2,000 state stipend for every year the teacher performs satisfactory. In 2007, Maryland ordered a study of the effectiveness of National Board Certification to determine future policy related to the certification. (Last updated 2008)


After about two-thirds of candidates for initial licensure in the state failed its new teacher assessment, in 1998 the Massachusetts legislature passed legislation to encourage "the best and brightest" to teach in public schools by offering a $20,000 signing bonus (over three years with at least $8,000 given the first year) to select candidates. These candidates - and other applicants who either receive a scholarship or pay tuition - go through an alternative route program at the Massachusetts Institute for New Teachers (MINT), completing a seven-week training before teaching in districts across the state. In the first three years, almost 3,000 people from over 40 states and eight countries applied for the bonus program. However, by November 2002, the state revamped the program replacing the fast-track preparation designed by the New Teacher Project with year-long programs designed by three of the state's education schools. By many accounts, the program failed to recruit and retain teachers for the 13 designated high-need areas, although the state maintains that the effort was worth its cost and that it learned many lessons in how to better recruit and retain teachers. (Last updated 2008)


Beginning in July 2007, Michigan established additional reading instruction requirements for the renewal of a teacher's provisional teaching certificate or the advancement of the teacher's certification to professional certification. The Superintendent of Public Instruction may not renew a teacher's provisional certificate or advance the their certification to the professional level unless, during the first six years of his or her employment in classroom teaching, the teacher successfully completes at least a three-credit course of study with appropriate field experiences in the diagnosis and remediation of reading disabilities and differentiated instruction. To meet this requirement, the course should include interest inventories; English language learning screening; visual and auditory discrimination tools; language expression and processing screening; phonemics; phonics; vocabulary; fluency; comprehension; spelling and writing assessment tools; and instructional strategies. In 2008, the legislature authorized teacher preparation institutions to provide an alternative program by which up to half of the required student internship or student teaching credits may be earned through substitute teaching, and requires an assessment be made of the comparative effectiveness of traditional and alternative certification methods. (Last updated 2008)


In 2005, Minnesota became one of the first states to implement a teacher performance pay system, known as Q-Comp. This new pay system allows teachers in each school district to determine whether the district will participate in the program. Q-Comp is based on the Teacher Advancement Program model and provides for a career ladder for teachers, job-embedded professional development, instructional observations and standards-based assessments, and measures to determine student growth. This new system of compensation is being viewed as a model for other states in efforts to move to pay for performance rather than education levels and years of experience. (Last updated 2008)


Like many other states in the region, Mississippi has made great strides over the past decade to recruit and retain teachers in hard-to-staff schools and subjects in the state. Mississippi continued the effort in 2006 through passage of the Mississippi Education Reform Act, bringing about major changes to education policy in the state. The Act provided additional compensation for teachers employed in critical shortage areas and established a Mississippi performance-based pay plan to reward licensed education personnel at schools showing improvement in student test scores. The Act also provided additional base compensation for mentor teachers in middle schools with approved classroom management programs. In 2008, Mississippi continued its efforts to improve teaching quality by requiring the State Department of Education to conduct a study on establishing a career ladder opportunity program for assistant teachers. It also furthered its efforts to recruit and retain teachers by authorizing state matching funds for Teach for America-Delta and establishing a pilot program to promote the national Troops to Teachers Program in the public schools of the State assisting in the recruitment, licensure, referral, placement and compensation of military personnel interested in beginning a second career in public education as a teacher. (Last updated 2008)


Since passing the Outstanding Schools Act in 1993, Missouri has invested significantly in teacher support and rewards through its professional development funding and career ladder plan. In 2003, the three-tiered teacher certification system was replaced with a two-tiered system comprising of an initial four-year professional certificate and a career continuous professional certificate. Initial professional certification requires participation in a mentoring program approved and provided by the district for a minimum of two years; (2) thirty contact hours of professional development which may include classroom hours in an appropriate college curriculum; and (3) participation in a beginning teacher assistance program. The career continuous professional certificate is issued upon successful completion of four years of teaching under, and completion of the requirements for, the initial professional certificate and is perpetual, based upon verification of actual employment in an educational position; The professional development requirements shall be waived for any individual who has a professional development plan in place with their local school district and who meets two of the following three criteria: ten years of teaching experience; a master's degree; rigorous national certification as approved by the state board of education. In 2007, the legislature required the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop standards for high-quality mentoring for beginning teachers and principals no later than June 30, 2008, and laid out a description of high-quality mentoring. The state has worked to recruit teachers by creating the Teaching Fellows program for loan repayment assistance and the Urban Flight and Rural Needs Scholarship program to provide scholarships for students entering teacher education programs who commit to teaching at schools with a higher than average at-risk population. Teachers must teach two years for every year he or she receives the scholarship. In 2008, Missouri became one of a handful of states to approve teacher certification from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. (Last updated 2008)


Only 29 percent of teacher education program graduates actually enter Montana classrooms within two years of completing their programs, many pursuing higher paying positions in neighboring states - the state ranks 43rd in average teacher salary - or leaving the profession due to compensation. In fact, low salary and lack of state support ranked as the top factors influencing teacher turnover according to a recent study. While Montana continues to struggle to retain teachers, no teaching quality reform efforts have been enacted over the past decade to improve the state of the teaching workforce. (Last updated 2008)


In 2000, Nebraska enacted the Attracting Excellence to Teaching Act, creating incentives to attract and retain teachers. Since then, the legislature has considered other incentives, including performance pay, but none have been enacted. The state does maintain the Nebraska Education Jobs website where districts can post vacancies and job candidates can fill out an online application. Certificates are granted to those graduating from an approved program, have passed a basic skills test, and have training in human relations and special education, as well as complete a background check. To renew a license, teachers must take six semester hours of professional growth over a six-year period. (Last updated 2008)


With 17 school districts - ranging from Esmeralda County Schools with just three elementary schools to Clark County Schools, one of the largest district in the country - it is difficult to craft state teaching quality policies that can reflect both the needs of rural, sparsely populated areas and the more urban Las Vegas and Reno areas. Further, there are only a few teacher preparation programs in the state, requiring the rapidly growing Clark County to seek teachers from across the country. To help support districts experiencing staffing shortages, the legislature appropriated $10 million toward signing bonuses of up to $2,000 in 2001-02 and $2,500 in 2002-03 for newly hired teachers. The legislature also appropriated funds to support the costs of attaining National Board Certification and provide an annual five percent salary increase for the 10-year life of the certificate. The state also has required certain levels of professional development and mentoring to provide support for teachers. With few state policies, districts like Clark County have been proactive to evaluate their own needs and create their own policies and programs to attract, retain, and support teachers in the district. (Last updated 2008)

New Hampshire

Many teachers in New Hampshire are nearing retirement, so the state is struggling to recruit new teachers to fill critical shortages. The state has made efforts to upgrade its teaching standards and has joined a handful of states allowing certification through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. In 2008, the state established a task force to study the feasibility of supplying laptop computers for all 7th grade children, similar to the program in Maine, and to study the necessary training and support needed for teachers if such a program were in place. (Last updated 2008)

New Jersey

In September 1984, the New Jersey Board of Education launched the Provisional Teacher Program, the nation's first alternative route program, which continues to operate successfully. In April 2001, the State Board required two years of mentoring for all new teachers. In 2002, $10 million in grant funds were awarded by the Commission on Higher Education to New Jersey institutions in the form of Teacher Effectiveness Grants and Teacher Quality and Capacity Grants. In 2003, $3 million was distributed by the Commission through the Teacher Preparation Grant Program, which is designed to increase the number of highly effective teachers prepared to teach math, science, special education, preschool, and literacy in urban schools. In 2004, the State Board adopted new regulations governing teacher preparation and certification, shifting from a course-based to a standards-based approach to teacher preparation. In 2005, the state began offering an endorsement in technology education to teach technology education in all public schools. Technology education includes content which is aligned to the core curriculum content standards and which reflects the standards for technology literacy published by the International Technology Education Association. (Last updated 2008)

New Mexico

With shortages of approximately 1,200 to 1,500 teachers annually, New Mexico has recently enacted new recruitment and retention policies. In 2000, the Teachers for Tomorrow program, offering student loans at zero percent interest for those going into teaching, was created. In 2001, the Teacher Loan for Service Act was established to provide loan forgiveness to those teaching in shortage fields. That year, the legislature also appropriated funds for an additional day of professional development, an eight percent pay raise for teachers, and funds for the state's one-to-three year mentorship program. These efforts are supplemented by a Higher Education Act Title II State Teaching Quality Enhancement Grant, funding 20 pilot sites across the state that focus on recruitment, induction and professional development. New Mexico also has implemented a three-tiered licensure system to provide a framework for teacher improvement. The system creates a career ladder and provides significant increases in compensation for each tier. Level I is a provisional license issued to new teachers for three to five years. Level II is a professional license issued for up to a nine-year period. Level III is a master teacher licensure issued for a nine-year period. To advance to the next licensure level, teachers must demonstrate how they are meeting the increased competencies for the next level by submitting a Professional Development Dossier (PDD) to the Public Education Department. (Last updated 2008)

New York

In 2000, the legislature created the Teachers of Tomorrow program with $25 million (60 percent must be dedicated to New York City) appropriated for six activities. Recruitment incentives are available to certified teachers who agree to teach the first time in a hard-to-staff district or subject area. Stipends of $2,000 are available to temporarily certified teachers for test preparation and coursework who agree to teach at least one year in a teacher or subject shortage area. Summer in the City internships allow students to receive up to $2,000 to encourage eligible students preparing to teach to work in urban areas, A specific summer training program for New York City was also established. Provisionally certified teachers agreeing to one year of service in a shortage area can receive up to $2,100 per year towards the cost of coursework to attain professional certification. In 2003, the legislature increased state funding for the program from 50 to70 percent of grant funds. National Board Certified teachers can receive an annual stipend of $10,000 for up to three years for serving as a master teacher in a low-performing building. (Last updated 2008)

North Carolina

North Carolina continues to be ranked atop Education Week's Quality Counts state rankings on teaching quality. The state has invested in programs that recruit new candidates - Teaching Fellows, Project Teach, NC TEACH, etc. In addition, the state has continued to develop and enhance induction and professional development support to help retain practicing teachers. North Carolina also has taken steps to determine the working conditions of teachers in an effort to understand why teachers decide to stay and leave. Since 2002, the Governor has spear-headed an effort to survey all teachers in the state and has used the results to inform both state and local policy. (Last updated 2008)

North Dakota

With average salaries near the lowest in the country, North Dakota has worked to increase compensation and pass policies to ensure that all state classrooms, particularly rural areas experiencing shortages, are staffed with qualified teachers. In 2001, the state authorized salary increases of up to $5,000 by 2002-2003, setting a minimum starting salary of $18,500 and $20,000 for the following year. The bill also provided $41,500 in grants to assist teachers attaining National Board certification. To deter teachers becoming eligible to retire from doing so, the state allows for retired teachers in critical shortage areas to come back to the classroom without a loss in benefits. Further, the Education Standards and Practice Board is now required to grant individuals licensed to teach in North Dakota for 30 years a lifetime teaching license. To recruit new teachers, a student loan forgiveness program for full-time students in approved preparation programs allows eligible students to receive up to $1,000 per year (to a maximum of $5,000). (Last updated 2008)


In 2003, the Governor's Commission on Teaching Success finalized its recommendations and reported to the Governor, recommending changes to policy on teacher recruitment, preparation, retention, professional development, and the learning environment that exists in state K-12 schools. Later that same year, the legislature created the Educator Standards Board and called for the development of a statewide articulation and transfer strategy to improve the recruitment and preparation of teachers, particularly in high-need areas and with the engagement of the community and technical college sector in Ohio. Since then, the state has made efforts to move toward a performance pay system in some of the larger urban districts and has implemented a value-added progress dimension to determine school and district improvement and teacher contributions to that improvement. (Last updated 2008)


Operating since 1997, the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation, an independent standards board, in collaboration with the State Regents, has been working toward implementing a competency-based teacher preparation system with a rigorous assessment system for new teachers and a system of professional development institutes to enhance the subject matter knowledge and skills of educators throughout their career. The State Regents have revised preparation programs, implementing a candidate portfolio and training state educators to conduct joint accreditation visits with NCATE team members using NCATE and state standards. The State Regents have issued a warranty since spring 2000 for all state education programs, guaranteeing the effectiveness of program graduates. A new performance-based assessment - examining general knowledge, professional knowledge and subject area expertise, designed by the OCTP and National Evaluation Systems - has been in place since 1999. Professional Development Institutes, bid on independently and externally evaluated, provide teachers with at least 35 contact hours in reading literacy, integrated math and science, mentoring and middle school math. The Institutes have been funded significantly by the legislature, providing experiential learning where participants must produce a useable work product for their classroom. Over the past few years, Oklahoma has focused much of its efforts to ensure that teachers receive high-quality, meaningful professional development, and in 2007 and 2008, the legislature has implemented recruitment efforts in hard-to-staff schools and subjects and became of a handful of states to grant a licensure to Teach for America candidates. (Last updated 2008)


Over the past decade, Oregon has addressed a number of features related to teacher quality. In 1997, the legislature authorized the redesign of teacher preparation and licensure (SB 124) to incorporate performance-based assessments for both the Initial and Continuing Teaching licenses. In 1999, the state implemented a four-stage licensure system to better align with Oregon's student and school accountability measures. The requirements for an Initial (3-year) teaching license include an extended professional portfolio with work samples, instructional plans, and student data. Teachers must also have at least 15 weeks of supervised student teaching, pass state and federal criminal background checks, and pass national basic skills and content tests. For educators licensed after 1999, those seeking a five-year continuing license must have a master's degree, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, or doctorate in education. The state has also dramatically increased the number of professional development hours required for teachers. In 2007, the legislature enacted legislation strengthening beginning and administrator mentoring in the state. (Last updated 2008)


Pennsylvania was the first state to require a statewide assessment of all practicing teachers. In 2001, the legislature created the Professional Development Assistance Program in an effort to better target the approximately $140 million spent annually on teacher professional development. School districts must now submit strategic professional development plans. What makes the program unique is assessments tied to that cycle -- all in-service teachers take the test in order to help that teacher, district, and preparation programs better assess areas of strength and weakness. Individual scores are confidential, only the teacher knows the score while districts receive aggregate scores. The state issues a list of districts and preparation programs with significant variation from the state average. The assessments also measure teacher knowledge in the core subject areas of reading and math and are aligned with Pennsylvania student standards in grades 5, 8 and 11. (Last updated 2008)

Rhode Island

Teacher professional development has been a focus for Rhode Island over the past decade. Beginning in 1999, Rhode Island has been piloting a new certification system that would require teachers to develop an individual professional development plan (I-Plan) that is goal-driven and informed by self-study. I-Plans are approved by the Rhode Island Statewide Review Panel (RISRP) within 30 days and filed at the Department of Education. I-Plans span five years and include goals, professional development activities, evidence of accomplishment through a portfolio, reflections, and evidence of 150 contact hours of qualifying professional development activities. The legislature has supported professional development through annual appropriations to the Professional Development Investment Fund distributed to districts based on a pupil-teacher ration. In 2004, the legislature began allowing schools that have met their performance targets in reading and have not been designated as a school in need of improvement to expend their Professional Development Investment Funds on professional development in the core academic subjects of math, writing or reading to improve student performance. In an effort to ensure the state is maximizing its investment in teacher professional development, the legislature passed resolution HR 7566 in 2008 requesting the Department of Education to conduct a study on the financing, organization, and effectiveness of teacher professional development. (Last updated 2008)

South Carolina

South Carolina has made significant investments to meet the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality teachers in the state. The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, & Advancement was established by the Commission on Higher Education in December 1985 and funded by the South Carolina General Assembly. Following the passage of the state's landmark Education Improvement Act, CERRA was created out of a concern for the condition of South Carolina's teacher supply pool and a need for a centralized teacher recruitment effort. CERRA pursues a variety of programs for increasing the number of students in the education pipeline and recruiting and retaining teachers. The Center's primary target groups are middle and high school students, college students, and adults interested in changing careers. CERRA also targets groups of accomplished teachers through programs including mentoring, teacher leadership, and National Board Certification. In 2008, legislation was enacted providing that National Board certified teachers shall be paid a $7,500 salary supplement in the year of achieving certification. CERRA is to develop guidelines and administer the programs. (Last updated 2008)

South Dakota

Facing declining enrollment and ranking near the last in the country in average teacher salary, South Dakota takes a local approach to teacher recruitment and retention. Despite these daunting demographics, the state has recently taken steps to improve teacher retention through mentoring and professional development. In 2003, the state adopted rules establishing duties and qualifications for mentors as required by the 2002 legislature action to create a teacher mentor program at the school district level. Participation in the program is discretionary, with local school boards adopting mentor teacher plans for the district. The legislature worked to address compensation issues during the 2007 session by creating the teacher compensation assistance program within the Department of Education to provide funds to school districts for the purpose of assisting school districts with teacher compensation. The Board of Education created an oversight board appointed by the Secretary of Education for approval of applications as well as guidelines for district applications based on district instructional goals, market compensation or other specific district requirements as approved by the department. Participation in the program is discretionary. District applications shall be approved by the local board of education. The Legislature will review the teacher compensation assistance program in 2012 to determine its effectiveness and to determine whether to continue the program. (Last updated 2008)


Tennessee's statewide accountability program, the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, provides specific data on student performance directly to teachers around the academic gains of their students relative to expected gains of a sample of similar students in the same subject. As the data are disaggregated to specific teachers and classrooms, educators can see whether their students make normal gains consistently over time and gain a better understanding in what areas their instructional strategies could be refined. These data feed into a statewide evaluation process that has been in effect since 2000. The Framework for Evaluation and Professional Growth encourages teachers to focus on student growth, reflect on their own knowledge and skill set, and school improvement. The teacher's growth plan identifies areas to be strengthened based on student performance, a statement of professional growth goals and objectives, and outlined action plan, identified evaluation methods to assess progress and a statement of expected benefits with emphasis on impact on student performance. The data system has allowed the state to link student and teacher data to prove teacher effectiveness to deem a teacher highly qualified and has allowed several school districts in the state to experiment with teacher performance pay. (Last updated 2008)


Texas has been noted not only for its accountability system for students on which No Child Left Behind is based, but for teachers as well. The state created a high-stakes accountability law in 1995 for Schools of Education. Programs must pass 85 percent (cumulative) of students within each ethnic and gender group or lose accreditation. Under the Accountability System for Education Preparation (ASEP), schools that do not meet the state's standards, as measured by the number of teachers passing the certification exam, are placed under review and assigned an oversight team for two years. If scores do not increase in the third year, an administrator appointed by the State Board for Educator Certification takes over the management of the schools. After the three years, schools that fail to bring scores up to the state minimum lose accreditation - they are allowed to graduate students but not enroll new prospects. Only three programs failed to obtain the passing rates for 2002-03, compared to 16 four years ago. Passage rates across the state averaged over 93 percent. At the same time, the number of candidates attaining certification through alternative routes has increased exponentially, with about 25 percent of new licenses going to alternatively prepared teachers in 2003. The state also is one of a handful of states that has created a teacher performance pay system to reward teachers and schools that demonstrate gains in student achievement. (Last updated 2008)


Utah has looked at compensating teachers differently since the inception of its career ladder program in 1988. Under the program, school districts design and establish a system to reward teachers who demonstrate achievement or take on additional responsibility. During the past decade, the state has created programs to provide bonuses for teachers in hard-to-staff subject areas, excellence in the classroom and earning advanced degrees. Utah also helps recruit new teachers through the state funded T.H. Bell Teacher Incentive Loan Program, targeting high school seniors and lower and upper-division college students pursuing a career in teaching. Beginning in fiscal year 2008-2009, the state will provide an annual salary supplement of $4,100 for a full-time teacher and a partial salary supplement for a part-time teacher who teaches one or more courses of a secondary school level mathematics course, integrated science in grade 7 or 8, chemistry or physics, and who holds the appropriate endorsement for the assigned course, has a qualifying educational background, and is either a new employee or received a satisfactory rating or above on the teacher's most recent evaluation. In 2008, the legislatures also created the Paraeducator to Teacher Scholarship Program which provides scholarships up to an amount to paraeducators employed by school districts and charter schools who are pursuing an associate's degree or bachelor's degree to become a licensed teacher. (Last updated 2008)


Given the small size of the state teaching corps and its local approach to education, much of Vermont's standards, assessments and teaching quality policies are school or district based. Prior to 2006, the state ensured high quality professional development through relicensure by local and regional standards boards. There were 65 standards boards, one in each supervisory union (a grouping of districts) and five regional boards, comprised of a minimum of five licensed educators and the majority of the boards must be licensed educators selected by licensed teachers. These boards recommended educators for relicensure, setting standards for acceptable credit, evaluating the quality of the educator's professional development, and approving their seven-year individual professional development plan. In 2006, the legislature established within the department of education a board of professional educators to oversee the training, licensing, and professional standards of teachers and administrators. (Last updated 2008)


Legislation in 2001 required the state to survey all districts on supply and demand issues. Virginia has made great efforts to ensure accountability for professional education programs and potential teachers with historically high cut scores on PRAXIS. Approximately one-third of all test takers nationally would fail to pass and receive an endorsement in the state. Preparation programs must meet nine standards to ensure high quality and alignment with the state's Standards of Learning. Mentor teacher programs, assuming funding, have also been created to provide professional support to those who enter teaching and to improve the performance of experienced teachers if identified for assistance. In the past several years, Virginia has revised its statutes governing teacher licensure regulations and regulation of teacher education programs by repealing the current statutes and reenacting teacher licensure and teacher education program provisions. The legislation provided that the Board of Education must prescribe, by regulation, the requirements for licensure of teachers and other school personnel. In addition, every person seeking initial licensure or licensure by renewal must demonstrate proficiency in the use of educational technology and receive professional development in instructional methods promoting student academic progress and Standards of Learning assessments. (Last updated 2008)


In 2000, the legislature created the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board and charged it with the creation of basic skills and subject knowledge assessments of new teachers and alternative routes into the profession. In 2001, the legislature appropriated nearly $2 million to fund an alternative routes partnership grant program where school districts partner with higher education teacher preparation programs to offer one or more of three alternative routes in their district. All alternative routes include performance-based, mentored internships of one year or less, a field-based partnership with learning provided on or near school sites, and a teacher development plan based on the candidate's prior experience and education background. There are options for classified staff with associate degrees or baccalaureates, those not employed by the district, or those on emergency substitute authorizations. In 2007, the legislature provided salary bonuses of at least $5,000 for individuals certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The legislature also created regional professional development partnerships between the office of the superintendent of public instruction with the educational service districts or public or private institutions of higher education with approved educator preparation programs to develop and deliver professional development learning opportunities for educators that fulfill the goals. The partnerships provide support to school districts by providing professional development leadership, courses, and consultation services to school districts in their implementation of professional development activities. They also support one another in the delivery of state-level and regional-level professional development activities such as state conferences and regional accountability institutes. Performance agreements with each educational service district clearly articulate partner responsibilities and assure fidelity for the delivery of professional development initiatives including job-embedded practices. (Last updated 2008)

West Virginia

West Virginia has taken steps over the past decade to recruit and reward teachers. The state has allocated large pay raises in an effort to bring up average salaries and offers to cover moving costs for teachers that have lost their jobs due to declining enrollment and need to move to another more populated area of the state. Since 1998 the state has awarded Underwood-Smith teacher scholarships to high achieving students to pursue teaching careers. The state also provided fee support and salary incentives for teachers achieving National Board Certification. Finally, based on the success of the Benedum Collaborative, one of the first and most successful professional development school models in the country, the legislature this year allocated $600,000 to expand the K-16 partnerships. (Last updated 2008)


Wisconsin began examining changes to its licensing system in the mid-1990s, creating a task force to streamline regulations and create a performance-based system. With positive reaction from the field, new initial and professional license programs began in 2004. An initial educator license is granted to candidates completing these new programs. During the first three to five years of holding the license, initial educators will design a standards-based personal professional development plan to be evaluated by a three person team (colleague, administrator and representative from higher education). Initially, licensed educators will receive a trained mentor as well. After successfully completing the initial stage and meeting the goals in the professional development plan, teachers will be able to attain and renew a five-year professional license. A voluntary 10-year master educator license can be obtained through National Board Certification or by successfully completing the Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process. In 2008, the legislature enacted legislation granting a sum sufficient for payment grants to teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or licensed as master educators, but the provision was line-item vetoed by the governor. (Last updated 2008)


Like many rural states, Wyoming has difficulty attracting and retaining teachers to the western part of the state as well as into small and rural schools. In an effort to ensure that individuals who may not meet the state's "traditional" certification requirements - (i.e., completing an approved teacher education program, including student teaching, background checks; and successful completion of a U.S. Constitution and a Wyoming Constitution course or tests on both) - the state has offered the ability to become certified through portfolio for those with a bachelor's degree and extensive experiences with school age children since 1992. The portfolio, a collection of documented evidence that shows an applicant's lifetime of activities and verifies how he/she meets Wyoming certification standards, is reviewed by a five-member committee, and the state's Professional Teaching Standards Board makes the final determination for certification. The process can also be used to add an endorsement area for those with a current Wyoming certificate. Applicants report needing 100 to 500 hours to complete an entire portfolio. Wyoming also has created the Teacher Policy Institute in partnership with the University of Wyoming to provide research and guidance to the states on teacher quality policy issues. (Last updated 2008)