Research consistently shows that teacher quality is a powerful determinant of student achievement gains, yet, urban school districts often struggle to staff their schools with qualified teachers. This problem seems to begin with teacher recruitment. In order to improve teacher recruitment, a popular intervention for urban school districts is raising teacher salaries to improve the school district’s attractiveness within the local labor market. Yet little is known about the effectiveness of such interventions. In this study, the author investigates changes in teacher recruitment in one urban school district as a result of a salary increase. Studying a policy in the San Francisco Unified School District, the author shows that a differential salary increase can improve a school district’s attractiveness within the local teacher labor market and increase both the size and quality of the teacher applicant pool, having the potential to increase the quality of new-hires.
- A salary increase in an urban school district can attract more applicants.
- The policy attracted applicants who would have only applied to higher-paying school districts in the absence of the salary increase.
- Improvements in the applicant pool can lead to an increase in the quality of new-hires.