A New York City charter school, set to open in 2009, is going to finally put to the test the whole issue of teacher pay. The school, for 5th — 8th grade students, is going to pay teachers $125,000 PLUS a bonus based on schoolwide performance. The school’s creator, Zeke Vanderhoek, says that a growing body of evidence suggests that teacher quality is the number one factor in student success.
I am not sure you need studies to show that, but, nonetheless, this experiment should be able to demonstrate, once and for all, if it is true (which I strongly suspect) or if it is false.
Before teachers start submitting their resumes, though, a few things will be different from union-based teaching. First, the school day will be longer. Second, the school year will be longer. Third, the teachers will assume responsibilities that normally go to support staff, like attendance and discipline. The class size will be 30 students. Oh, and one other thing, if you are not in the 90th percentile or higher on the GRE or GMAT then don’t bother applying — your application will not be accepted. Applicants must also go through three teaching auditions, numerous interviews, and must submit clear and concrete evidence of their students’ past success in the classroom.
I applaud Vanderhoek for creating this charter school and putting his money where his mouth is. I also predict success for the students. I have long believed that teacher quality is the number one factor in student success. Parental support is the number two factor.
Let’s all wish them well and stay tuned for the results.