How $125K-a-Year Teachers Affect Kids' Test Scores

New York charter school pays hefty salaries, sees results, turnover
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2014 6:11 AM CST
How $125K-a-Year Teachers Affect Kids' Test Scores
Dave Marsicek, a sixth-grade teacher at St. Anthony School in Milwaukee grades papers in his empty classroom Thursday morning, April 30, 2009 after officials closed the school for two days as a precaution against swine flu. Gov. Jim Doyle declared a public health emergency Thursday after two more probable...   (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde)

A charter school in Manhattan has been conducting an experiment of sorts: How do students perform if teachers are paid $125,000 a year? The results so far at the Equity Project Charter School look promising, the Atlantic reports. The fifth- through eighth-graders slowly saw test scores rise over the period studied. Four years of math at the school showed results comparable to 5.6 years at another school with demographically similar students, Vox reports. In science and English, they gained an approximately an additional half-year's worth of learning over other kids, the Wall Street Journal reports. What's more, the score gap between white and Hispanic eighth-graders shrank by 78%, Vox notes.

It isn't just the high pay that sets the school apart, however. The 480-student school, called TEP, hired highly experienced teachers who underwent a day of teaching "auditions." They have extensive administrative duties in a school that cut some standard administrative positions, and they must hold up to tough scrutiny to get rehired. Turnover ended up being high across a four-year period, the Atlantic notes, with 20 out of 43 teachers working for only one year. (At city middle schools, about 27% of teachers don't do a second year.) Also worth noting: Only 43% of eighth-graders at the school passed state math tests last year—but that beats the 26% rate across New York City, the Journal notes. (Another possible education solution: 13th grade?)

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