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University of Akron economics professor study reveals increasing teachers pay can boost test scores

School generic
Posted at 9:50 AM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 09:50:05-04

AKRON, Ohio — Increasing teachers' compensation can lead to higher test scores, according to a study conducted by an economics professor from the University of Akron.

Ali Enami's, Ph. D, study showed between 1996 and 2015, a 1% increase in teachers’ compensation in high poverty school districts amounted to an approximately 2.6-2.9 percentage points increase in the math proficiency rate of high school graduates.

“The state of Ohio has a program that helps schools in high poverty districts fund their construction projects, but a similar program does not exist that would allow them to significantly improve their ability to better compensate their teachers,” said Enami, in a press release from UA. “Given that teachers’ compensation appears to have a much higher impact on student test scores in high poverty school districts, Ohio and other states can better achieve equality of opportunity in their public schools if they prioritize using their resources to improve teachers’ compensation in these districts.”

Jeff Wensing, the Vice President of the Ohio Education Association, said he agrees with fair wages for teachers.

“The more you feel valued always helps, right?" he said.

Wensing taught math for more than 20 years in the Parma City School District. He said districts experiencing poverty - who can’t afford to pay their teachers more— tend to have high turnover rates.

“Teachers hone their craft, they perfect their skills, they get really good at lesson planning and classroom management. And after that they’ve done that you become a training ground as a school district and they take those skills and they go elsewhere," he said.

“We believe our study will help inform policymakers at the state and federal level about how to focus already limited resources on areas that may have a larger impact on students’ achievements,” said Enami. “Focusing spending increases on high poverty school districts can create a higher return for the state and federal investments.”