How many teachers with only six years of experience do you know making $125,000 a year? How about teachers eligible for a 12 percent bonus? None, we assume.
But that’s how the Equity Project’s TEP charter school in New York City is compensating its teachers. And with its students earning higher state test scores than their peers at other schools, it’s certainly making a difference.
Vox reports the average New York City teacher makes between $64,000 and $76,000, but back in 2009, TEP decided to pay a whole lot more. The raise did come with some significant strings unattached: no unionization and no guarantee of tenure.
Teachers are chosen through a “rigorous selection process,” says Vox, including a day-long audition, and usually have around six years of previous teaching experience. The higher pay comes with a heftier work load as well. TEP’s average class size is 31, and teachers handle administrative duties outside of class, too.
Need proof that this school is tough not just on students, but educators, too? After TEP’s first year, almost half of the teachers either weren’t rehired or chose to leave.
TEP is walking a different path on school policies, too, which teachers helped develop during their six weeks of summer training. They also spend more time observing each other in the classroom, trading critiques and ideas — which experts agree is an underutilized boon.
The results? After four years, the students — who were at comparable income and achievement levels to peers at other schools and none of whom were expelled or suspended in the first four years — are scoring higher in math, science and language arts and, according to Vox, “erased 78 percent of the achievement gap between Hispanic students and whites in the eighth grade.” In math specifically, Mathematica Policy Research says that TEP students learned in four years what would’ve taken more than five and a half years at other schools.
Higher pay for higher test scores? Sounds like a no-brainer.