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New charter school will pay teachers $125,000 a year.

Old 03-07-08, 10:29 PM
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New charter school will pay teachers $125,000 a year.

The money will come from reducing the number of administrative employees. Also, only teachers who score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests will be eligible. And there will be 30 students per class. This could actually ending up costing less money per student than the average public school. I think all of these things are great ideas.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/ny...=1&oref=slogin

At Charter School, Higher Teacher Pay

By ELISSA GOOTMAN

Published: March 7, 2008

Would six-figure salaries attract better teachers?

A New York City charter school set to open in 2009 in Washington Heights will test one of the most fundamental questions in education: Whether significantly higher pay for teachers is the key to improving schools.

The school, which will run from fifth to eighth grades, is promising to pay teachers $125,000, plus a potential bonus based on schoolwide performance. That is nearly twice as much as the average New York City public school teacher earns, roughly two and a half times the national average teacher salary and higher than the base salary of all but the most senior teachers in the most generous districts nationwide.

The school’s creator and first principal, Zeke M. Vanderhoek, contends that high salaries will lure the best teachers. He says he wants to put into practice the conclusion reached by a growing body of research: that teacher quality — not star principals, laptop computers or abundant electives — is the crucial ingredient for success.

“I would much rather put a phenomenal, great teacher in a field with 30 kids and nothing else than take the mediocre teacher and give them half the number of students and give them all the technology in the world,” said Mr. Vanderhoek, 31, a Yale graduate and former middle school teacher who built a test preparation company that pays its tutors far more than the competition.

In exchange for their high salaries, teachers at the new school, the Equity Project, will work a longer day and year and assume responsibilities that usually fall to other staff members, like attendance coordinators and discipline deans. To make ends meet, the school, which will use only public money and charter school grants for all but its building, will scrimp elsewhere.

The school will open with seven teachers and 120 students, most of them from low-income Hispanic families. At full capacity, it will have 28 teachers and 480 students. It will have no assistant principals, and only one or two social workers. Its classes will have 30 students. In an inversion of the traditional school hierarchy that is raising eyebrows among school administrators, the principal will start off earning just $90,000. In place of a menu of electives to round out the core curriculum, all students will take music and Latin. Period.

While the notion of raising teacher pay to attract better candidates may seem simple, the issue is at the crux of policy debates rippling through school systems nationwide, over how teachers should be selected, compensated and judged, and whether teacher quality matters more than, say, class size.

Mr. Vanderhoek’s school, which was approved by the city’s Education Department and the State Board of Regents, is poised to be one of the country’s most closely watched educational experiments, one that could pressure the city and its teachers’ union to rethink the pay for teachers in traditional schools.

“This is an approach that has not been tried in this way in American education, and it opens up a slew of fascinating opportunities,” said Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “That $125,000 figure could have a catalytic effect.”

Yet the model is raising questions. Will two social workers be enough? Will even the most skillful teachers be able to handle classes of 30, several students more than the city average?

“I think they’ll have their hands full,” said Alan B. Krueger, a Princeton professor who studies the economics of education. “Paying teachers above market rate for hard-to-staff schools makes sense, don’t get me wrong. The question is, ‘How much do you want to tilt in that direction?’ ”

Michael Thomas Duffy, the city’s executive director for charter schools, said that even some Education Department staff members were skeptical, wondering, “If you’re putting all of your resources into teachers in the classroom, are you shorting some of the other aspects of what a good school requires?”

Mr. Vanderhoek won approval for the school after presenting city and state officials with a detailed proposal and budget. Mr. Duffy said the school could have a “tremendous impact” throughout the country. “If the department and the chancellor didn’t feel that this had a likelihood of success, we wouldn’t have approved it.”

The school’s students will be selected through a lottery weighted toward underperforming children and those who live nearby. It has generated so much buzz with its e-mail blasts and postings on education and employment Web sites that its voicemail message now implores prospective hires to please, make inquiries by e-mail.

“People are sort of stunned,” Mr. Vanderhoek said.

Ernest A. Logan, president of the city principals’ union, called the notion of paying the principal less than the teachers “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“It’s nice to have a first violinist, a first tuba, but you’ve got to have someone who brings them all together,” Mr. Logan said. “If you cheapen the role of the school leader, you’re going to have anarchy and chaos.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, called the hefty salaries “a good experiment.” But she said that when teachers were not unionized, and most charter school teachers are not, their performance can be hampered by a lack of power in dealing with the principal. “What happens the first time a teacher says something like, ‘I don’t agree with you?’ ”

Mr. Vanderhoek spent three years teaching at Intermediate School 90 in Washington Heights through Teach for America, which places recent college graduates in challenging schools. He started tutoring to supplement his salary and created a test preparation company called Manhattan GMAT in 2000.

The secret to the company’s success, he said, was to pay tutors $100 an hour as well as bonuses, compensation that was several times more than other companies paid.

Mr. Vanderhoek is trying to raise money to lease space in the neighborhood and build a permanent building. But he has made a strategic decision to cover other expenses with city, state and federal money, plus a few grants. “We’re saying, ‘Look, we can do it on public funding, and we want to inspire other people to do it on public funding.’ ”

The school’s teachers will be selected through a rigorous application process outlined on its Web site, www.tepcharter.org, and run by Mr. Vanderhoek. There will be telephone and in-person interviews, and applicants will have to submit multiple forms of evidence attesting to their students’ achievement and their own prowess; only those scoring at the 90th percentile in the verbal section of the GRE, GMAT or similar tests need apply. The process will culminate in three live teaching auditions.

Among those who have applied are a candidate who began teaching in the 1960s, founded a residential school for troubled adolescents, has a Ph.D in Latin and is working on a scholarly translation; and a would-be science teacher who has taught for more than a dozen years at some of the country’s top private schools.

Claudia Taylor, 29, applied to the Equity Project even though, she said, the thought of leaving the Harlem Village Academy, the charter school where she teaches reading, “breaks my heart.”

“I’m tired of making decisions about whether or not I can afford to go to a movie on a Friday night when I work literally 55 hours a week,” Ms. Taylor said. “It’s very frustrating. I’m feeling like I either have to leave New York City or leave teaching, because I don’t want to have a roommate at 30 years old.”

Ms. Taylor hesitated before applying, because the salary “almost doesn’t seem real.” Then she thought back on her three years teaching in the traditional public schools and determined that it could be, saying, “There is definitely a lot of money that you saw being wasted.”

Mr. Vanderhoek said he planned to be principal for at least four years. After that, who knows? He could be promoted to teacher.
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Old 03-08-08, 06:11 PM
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I'm going to throw in my 2 cents...

As a public school teacher myself (4th grade), I find this concept very interesting. I'd love to hear the long term results. However, screening out anyone that doesn't perform at 90% or higher on a standardized test just shows how naive some are to what constitutes a good teacher. I know many people that score high on tests and are very book smart but lack common sense and social skills - two VERY CRITICAL requirements to be a good teacher. Teaching is so much more than just knowing facts and theories! I'm glad to have read they are going to consider other aspects presented by the interviewees too.

The $125,000 salary sounds great but without the support staff (vice principals, social workers, psychologists, etc.) the teachers are just going to be doing two+ jobs in the same amount of time. A regular teacher's job is already so demanding and stretched to the breaking point time-wise as it is, I don't see how they'll be able to pull this off without 12+ hour days and 6 or 7 day work weeks at the very least. That's just asking for burn out! I know teachers bitch and moan about administrators, but they do have tough jobs that require a lot of time. I can't imagine trying to teach full time and go to all the meetings my principal has to attend every day. I'm currently the "Teacher in Charge" at my school site (teacher who is in charge when the principal is off campus), and there are times when I spend so much of my day dealing with meetings and discipline issues in addition to teaching my 30 kids. I don't see how I could do that every day and still give a quality education to my own students, $125,000 or not.

Would I like to be paid $125,000 for what I currently do? Sure! But that's not why I went into teaching. I knew the salary was going to be low and that was my decision - low pay but a job I love rather than higher pay in a job I hate. Of course I'd like a high paying job I love but those are few and far between. I'd be willing to bet that most teachers feel the same as I do.
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Old 03-08-08, 07:43 PM
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We need more teachers who score in the 90th percentile. More doctors, lawers, engineers, scientists, and politicians, too. In fact, I think 100% of Americans should be in the top 10%!
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Old 03-08-08, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by yakuza70
I'm going to throw in my 2 cents...
You are one of the few, IMO.

I went to school with 2 guys that teach now and all they do is complain about it all the time. They fit the stereotype of "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

They couldn't handle their major in school so they "dropped down". This seems to be more of the norm (around here at least).

My sister is on the polar opposite side. She has been a teacher for 20+ years and loves it. She went to school to become a teacher.

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Old 03-08-08, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
We need more teachers who score in the 90th percentile. More doctors, lawers, engineers, scientists, and politicians, too. In fact, I think 100% of Americans should be in the top 10%!
Wow, you just blew my mind.
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Old 03-08-08, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
We need more teachers who score in the 90th percentile. More doctors, lawers, engineers, scientists, and politicians, too. In fact, I think 100% of Americans should be in the top 10%!
You just have to make the whole country like Lake Wobegon.
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Old 03-08-08, 09:12 PM
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Nice, JasonF. I want to vote for the "everyone should be in the 90+% percentile" option. Where's that?
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Old 03-08-08, 09:50 PM
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I agree, scoring 90th percentile does not equal great teacher, I also believe going into teaching because you get summers off does not equal good teacher, go figure.
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Old 03-08-08, 09:53 PM
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I hope this will also improve the currently dismal hot teacher - student sex scandal ratio.
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Old 03-09-08, 11:00 AM
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It says in the article that they are not just looking at test scores as a measure of how qualified teachers are but also at other evidence. I think that the bar on the test scores is probably being set too high, however. They aren't trying to recruit the top 10% of teachers, they are trying to recruit the top 10% of all test takers. I think that is probably safe to assume that most people who score in the 90th percentile or above on the GRE or GMAT do not go on to teach in public schools. This would severely limit the pool that they could recruit from.
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Old 03-09-08, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
We need more teachers who score in the 90th percentile. More doctors, lawers, engineers, scientists, and politicians, too. In fact, I think 100% of Americans should be in the top 10%!
That's some nice liberal math there. I guess as long as you feel good about it and your self esteem is intact it's OK.

Seriously though, the teachers who achieve should be rewarded.
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Old 03-09-08, 03:12 PM
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Standardized tests are a joke. I know people who are brilliant in their fields (mostly science related) but struggle with standardized tests.

I also had a high school teacher who was by far the greatest teacher I ever encountered: dedicated, a master at his subject; however, he told me it took him three times to pass the GRE general exam.
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Old 03-09-08, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by foggy
I think that is probably safe to assume that most people who score in the 90th percentile or above on the GRE or GMAT do not go on to teach in public schools. This would severely limit the pool that they could recruit from.
That's very true, but even if the pool is small, with an offer of $125K, they should get 100% acceptance on offers and can hire the whole pool.

In fact, the tough requirement will help winnow the pool down to something reasonable. They still need to look for evidence of "excellent teaching" however.
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Old 03-09-08, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
We need more teachers who score in the 90th percentile. More doctors, lawers, engineers, scientists, and politicians, too. In fact, I think 100% of Americans should be in the top 10%!
I'm sure the Teacher's Union would agree.
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Old 03-09-08, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by yakuza70
without the support staff (vice principals, social workers, psychologists, etc.) the teachers are just going to be doing two+ jobs in the same amount of time.


Without those uneccesary bureaucrats, the school will concentrate on teaching instead of on bureaucracy.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_..._United_States

According to a 2006 study by the Goldwater Institute, Arizona's public schools spend 50% more per student than Arizona's private schools. The study also says that while teachers constitute 72% of the employees at private schools, they make up less than half of the staff at public schools. According to the study, if Arizona's public schools wanted to be like private schools, they would have to hire approximately 25,000 more teachers, and eliminate 21,210 administration employees.
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Old 03-09-08, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Boba Fett
Standardized tests are a joke. I know people who are brilliant in their fields (mostly science related) but struggle with standardized tests.

I also had a high school teacher who was by far the greatest teacher I ever encountered: dedicated, a master at his subject; however, he told me it took him three times to pass the GRE general exam.

It's not a perfect system. And this experiement could end up as a failure. Only time will tell.
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Old 03-09-08, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
Without those uneccesary bureaucrats, the school will concentrate on teaching instead of on bureaucracy.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_..._United_States

According to a 2006 study by the Goldwater Institute, Arizona's public schools spend 50% more per student than Arizona's private schools. The study also says that while teachers constitute 72% of the employees at private schools, they make up less than half of the staff at public schools. According to the study, if Arizona's public schools wanted to be like private schools, they would have to hire approximately 25,000 more teachers, and eliminate 21,210 administration employees.
The main reason that public schools have so many more administrators is because they have their funding tied to thousands of different things. Add a thousand regulations, and you need to support to keep the school in compliance. That is actually an argument for less strings attached and more local control.

A charter school can go forward with no real reulation, cut out the crap, do much better, and we can all applaud how great charter schools are. But that hasn't really shown us everything. If you want a charter school to show the world how education can be, and want to compare them to public schools, hold them to the same funding requirements and regulations as a public school. Now would you expect to see any difference?

The point is not that charter schools can't do well. The point is that our public schools could also do well if they did not have their hands tied by so many things.

I don't have anything against charter schools. But if we want to compare results, don't have a school that has complete local control and try to compare it with one that has to work through hundreds of programs, grants, and funding rules. Add that stuff to places and you will need more administrators or you will lose funding.

That's the problem. Every new dollar that goes to public education has a new string attached. And someone has to make sure they follow the rules. Fix that, and you have fixed 70% of public education.
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Old 03-09-08, 11:00 PM
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I'm all for it.

Standardized testing (in this case), is just a screening measure. The article measured in person interviews, teaching examples, and whatnot in addition. The first cut at many competitive graduate programs are often GRE scores. It will eliminate many fine candidates, but if you still have a strong pool, they probably won't look to change it.

I hope this succeeds, as our public education system is broken. The good teachers deserve to earn more, and the bad teachers (kept employed by the unions) deserve to be weeded out, or at least not considered for top positions.
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Old 03-10-08, 03:17 PM
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I'll look into this. I'm sure with hard work, I can sneak into being in the top 90% of almost anything.
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Old 03-10-08, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
Without those uneccesary bureaucrats, the school will concentrate on teaching instead of on bureaucracy.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_..._United_States

According to a 2006 study by the Goldwater Institute, Arizona's public schools spend 50% more per student than Arizona's private schools. The study also says that while teachers constitute 72% of the employees at private schools, they make up less than half of the staff at public schools. According to the study, if Arizona's public schools wanted to be like private schools, they would have to hire approximately 25,000 more teachers, and eliminate 21,210 administration employees.
Keep in mind that most private schools do not have the diverse population public schools have. For instance, public schools must educate any child that walks in the door, including ones with learning disabilities. Special Education is a HUGE cost to the public schools system. A private school can weed out students with learning or behavior issues therefore not have such a need for specialists such as psychologists, special education teachers, etc. In fact, I've had numerous students that have come to my public school over the years with learning disabilities from private schools because the private school doesn't have the resources to help them. Even the ones with disabilities that manage to remain in the private schools are a strain on public schools. For instance, the speech and language specialist at my school by law is responsible for ALL students within our district boundaries with learning disabilities even if they go to private schools - at no cost to the private school or private school parents. She has to test and evaluate them on her time and the school district's money. Personally, I find that outrageous as the parents chose to go to private school. This is just one example of how more diverse the student population is at most public schools which require more teachers and administrators to service them.
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Old 03-11-08, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
The main reason that public schools have so many more administrators is because they have their funding tied to thousands of different things. Add a thousand regulations, and you need to support to keep the school in compliance. That is actually an argument for less strings attached and more local control.

A charter school can go forward with no real reulation, cut out the crap, do much better, and we can all applaud how great charter schools are. But that hasn't really shown us everything. If you want a charter school to show the world how education can be, and want to compare them to public schools, hold them to the same funding requirements and regulations as a public school. Now would you expect to see any difference?

The point is not that charter schools can't do well. The point is that our public schools could also do well if they did not have their hands tied by so many things.

I don't have anything against charter schools. But if we want to compare results, don't have a school that has complete local control and try to compare it with one that has to work through hundreds of programs, grants, and funding rules. Add that stuff to places and you will need more administrators or you will lose funding.

That's the problem. Every new dollar that goes to public education has a new string attached. And someone has to make sure they follow the rules. Fix that, and you have fixed 70% of public education.


That's the whole point of charter schools - they are different than regular public schools.

Regular public schools are not going to just abandon their excessive bureaucracy and union control. It's not going to happen.
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Old 03-11-08, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by yakuza70
Keep in mind that most private schools do not have the diverse population public schools have. For instance, public schools must educate any child that walks in the door, including ones with learning disabilities. Special Education is a HUGE cost to the public schools system. A private school can weed out students with learning or behavior issues therefore not have such a need for specialists such as psychologists, special education teachers, etc. In fact, I've had numerous students that have come to my public school over the years with learning disabilities from private schools because the private school doesn't have the resources to help them. Even the ones with disabilities that manage to remain in the private schools are a strain on public schools. For instance, the speech and language specialist at my school by law is responsible for ALL students within our district boundaries with learning disabilities even if they go to private schools - at no cost to the private school or private school parents. She has to test and evaluate them on her time and the school district's money. Personally, I find that outrageous as the parents chose to go to private school. This is just one example of how more diverse the student population is at most public schools which require more teachers and administrators to service them.


Marva Collins was a public school teacher in inner city Chicago in the 1970s. Many of her students were low income blacks whom the public school system had labelled as "learning disabled." Collins did not agree with that label.

She had her own ideas on how to teach those students. But the public school would not allow her to do that.

So she quit the public school. With very little money, she started her own private school. And she successfully taught those very same students whom the public schools had labelled "learning disabled."

Here's a quote from her:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marva_Collins

"I have discovered few learning disabled students in my three decades of teaching. I have, however, discovered many, many victims of teaching inabilities."
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Old 03-11-08, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
Marva Collins was a public school teacher in inner city Chicago in the 1970s. Many of her students were low income blacks whom the public school system had labelled as "learning disabled." Collins did not agree with that label.

She had her own ideas on how to teach those students. But the public school would not allow her to do that.

So she quit the public school. With very little money, she started her own private school. And she successfully taught those very same students whom the public schools had labelled "learning disabled."
I am bald and in my 40s. I'm also a very good tennis player*. Therefore, all bald men in their 40s are good tennis players.


* In addition to being "adorable."
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Old 03-11-08, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
I am bald and in my 40s. I'm also a very good tennis player*. Therefore, all bald men in their 40s are good tennis players.


* In addition to being "adorable."
You're bald? This throws off my whole world view. Your posts no longer appear as virile and informed as before.
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Old 03-11-08, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by spainlinx0
You're bald? This throws off my whole world view. Your posts no longer appear as virile and informed as before.
Quite the contrary, I'm practically dripping with testosterone.
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