I found a national job posting for a “Master Teacher – Middle School” for a New York charter school. Salary: $125,000 with bonus potential of $25,000 per year. Tempting as it was, I can’t see myself transplanting to NY from NC with a book coming out in a year.
But I got to thinking: Just imaging the surge of applicants! Just imagine how choosy the school could be from such an applicant pool. And, most importantly, just imagine the quality of the faculty they end up with. Sure, the school is located in the tough neighborhood of Washington Heights, but with a faculty (and presumably administration) like that, everything is possible.
The posting was very transparent about the motive: “The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School believes that teacher quality is the most important factor in achieving educational equity for low income students. Spurred by this belief, TEP reallocates its public funds by making an unprecedented investment in attracting and retaining great teachers.” And there are host of interesting things they’re doing in addition to high teacher salaries, such as mandatory daily peer observations and co-teaching interdisciplinary classes.
I’ve posted about teacher salaries before, but this job posting has caused me to feel compelled to restate my position that when teachers are paid comparably to primary care physicians, veterinarians, engineers and district managers, the game changes. The teaching profession is suddenly attractive to young, bright college students who could be inspiring, dedicated teachers but in whose radar teaching as a career never enters.
The impact of such a change would be incalculable for our children, our economy, and our nation.
Thank you, TEP charter school in NY, for having the balls to make a difference for your kids in your corner. You are spot on in what you’re trying to do. dven.