As mentioned before, one of the benefits of the Charter School movement is the chance to experiment with policy on a small scale. Today’s New York Times features one of these laboratories in education, The Equity Project Charter School to open in 2009 that promises to pay it’s teachers $125k, plus bonuses for schoolwide performance. This is an interesting look at a school jumping right into the controversial issues of teacher attraction/retention and merit pay.
Key quote from founding Principal Zeke M. Vanderhoek:
“I would much rather put a phenomenal, great teacher in a field with 30 kids and nothing else than take the mediocre teacher and give them half the number of students and give them all the technology in the world.”
While only time will tell whether this method will work, or whether it’s sustainable long term (and the article raises some interesting questions), but Breakthrough is build on the idea that teachers make learning happen, and I can’t agree with Mr. Vanerhoek more on this point.