New School Hopes Six-Figure Teacher Salaries Pave Way to Success

People everywhere envy teachers for the comfortable schedule, reliable benefits, and job security, but teachers are not known for their lucrative compensation packages. A new charter school in New York City is looking to change that by offering six-figure salaries to recruit the best teachers.

The school, scheduled to open next fall for 120 fifth-graders, will offer its eight teachers yearly salaries of $125,000 with the potential for additional performance-based bonuses, more than twice the salary for New York City public school teachers and nearly two-and-a-half times the national average for teacher salaries.

According to an article in Friday’s New York Times, the new school is looking to prove that teachers, not small-class sizes or high technology, are the backbone of an effective learning environment.

Known as The Equity Project Charter School, the school aims to be the practical implementation of research that highlights the role of skilled teachers in student success. According to the school’s Web site, “TEP is uniquely focused on attracting and retaining master teachers. To do so, TEP uses a three-pronged strategy that it terms the 3 R’s: Rigorous Qualifications, Redefined Expectations, & Revolutionary Compensation.”

The new school has recruited an impressive array of teachers, including two Ivy League graduates and Joe Carbone, the gym teacher whose previous work includes time as Kobe Bryant’s personal trainer.

The rest of the article can be read at

Below is my response.

Sorry I did not see this earlier. It came in as a link on my new blog

I agree with the idea of paying teachers more, but I have to question the recruiting process. It smells of elitism. Kobe Bryant’s trainer? Would that make him more sensitive to the needs of children. 30 kids to a class? Isn’t that one of the root problems in the system?

Teachers should be paid more, and the process of recruiting good teachers should be streamlined. A few years ago, I attended a seminar for the teaching fellows. The moderators were heads of the Education Department at St. Johns University. I found their recruiting criteria trite and their presentation portrayed an innate inability to relate to people on an ordinary level. NYC was primarily looking for Math and Science teachers. I am a life long artist, a veteran graphic designer and have tremendous knowledge in areas like folklore, comparative religion and marketing. I love being around children and take pride in helping to build confidence in them. But NYC has no place for me. They have no place for an experienced businessman and artist because the view of how to educate is extremely narrow. That is why a group of parents and teachers gathered together 6 years ago to form the Brooklyn Free School. A school where children are  the focus, and their interests lead the school. Our current crop of teachers all deserve to make six figure incomes.

So I agree with this program in spirit, but the truth behind it still remains ignorant of reality.


One Comment on “New School Hopes Six-Figure Teacher Salaries Pave Way to Success”

  1. Alan Berger says:

    I’m troubled by the notion, so prevalent in conventional educational circles today–especially in our current capitalistic Dept. of Ed, that throwing money at something will help solve a problem or somehow incent students and staff to achieve. Public school teachers in NYC are paid pretty well. Under their current contract they start at about 40-50K depending on their education and credentials and can rise to over 100K with seniority, without working over the summer.

    In the Times yesterday there was an article about paying students in a number of NY public and parochial schools to take and pass AP tests. The folks who raised the money to offer to these students claim that the program was a success because more kids took the tests and a few more passed them. We don’t have information on how other similar schools did on the same tests this year without the cash awards being offered. We also don’t know if the kids really learned something by taking these tests or just were able to prep for them and retain the information long enough to take and pass them. There’s been lots of other similar type programs being tried out around the country and I feel that they’re misguided and deeply flawed.

    Do we really want to promote education and educational success, as it’s defined today by test scores, with dollars? Do we want to incentivize education, just as we’ve done with health care, prisons, the military, and lots of other services that are for the public good and should not be subject to capitalistic pressures? (We know how things are working out in those three fields, so why do we want to replicate it?)

    Where has monetary incentives and rewards gotten us today? Look around at the economy and the unemployment rate and home foreclosures. The unfettered race for the almighty dollar reduced our economy (and much of the world’s) to shambles in so many different ways. Bankers getting stimulus money continue to collect million dollar bonuses. Health insurers and pharmaceutical companies continue to make huge profits at the expense of public health. We have more people in prison then any other country on Earth (I wonder why?) Is this the example we want to set for our kids? Is this what we want as educational policy?

    I recommend reading Alfie Kohn, noted author of Punished by Rewards, No Contest, and lots of other books that make the case that extrinsic rewards are not true motivators in the long term and actually result in poorer performance and declining interest in whatever was being rewarded in the first place. Especially in education, it takes the focus off of what is being learned and puts it on the reward to be earned.

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