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Friday, June 5, 2009

NYC Charter School Hires Teachers for $125,000

My post yesterday on South Dakota's expenditures on standardized tests and turn toward national curriculum standards provoked a little discussion of how we motivate teachers.

Want motivation? How about paying teachers $125,000 a year? Last year I blogged about New York City's Equity Project Charter School, which plans to pay its teachers $125K a year, plus performance bonuses (boni!). This morning, an eager reader sends a link to an update on the eight-teacher "dream team" the Equity Project has hired. What does a million bucks get you for teaching staff? Among those chosen from 600 apps:
  • A 30-year veteran teacher from Arizona whose salary a couple years ago was $40K.
  • Two Ivy-League grads.
  • North Carolina social studies teacher Casey Ash, whose principal cried describing what a treasure he is.
  • Joe Carbone, phys-ed teacher, former L.A. Lakers trainer (his résumé includes, "Developed Kobe from 185 lbs. to 225 lbs. of pure muscle over eight years"—how's that for an interview-getter?)
The teachers get high pay, but they also can be fired at will. Is that enough motivation to perform? We'll find out when classes start this fall for 120 lucky fifth graders. The Equity Project will add another 120 kids (and, we can hope, another "dream-team" of teachers) each year until they have a full 5th-grade-thru-8th-grade middle school. Wish them luck... although if the free market works, this school won't need much luck at all.

By the way, these educational innovators will be following what looks like an old-fashioned semester schedule. What, no trimesters? No block?

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