TEP Charter School Points to Tenure Problem

I watched an interesting piece on 60 Minutes this evening on a charter school in New York that offers no tenure, holds high expectations for their teachers, but in return pays them $125,000 per year. Basically, they attempt to attract the most talented and committed teachers in the field, hold their ‘feet to the fire’ and expect that in return students will benefit.

TEP Charter School in New York which opened in the fall of 2009 primarily serves low-income, minority students and believing that the teacher is the greatest predictor of success is putting their money where their mouth is. According to the principal of the school, they operate solely on tax dollars just like any other public educational institution, but they have reallocated their dollars. However, I did note on their website they are inviting outside donations.

Instead of hiring reading specialists, instructional coaches, building state-of-the-art facilities etc. they have put more money into teacher salaries and correspondingly expect more from their teachers. Teachers actually ‘try out’ for their position when they apply. Once hired, they undergo continuous evaluation from administration as well as practice ongoing, collaborative evaluation of each other.

Evaluation criteria includes such things as evidence that students have improved under the direction of the teacher, student engagement (apparently defined as on-task behaviors) and the ability to promote and maintain an orderly learning environment conducive to learning.

I’m wondering how many educators would give up tenure in exchange for a high salary and a collegial but demanding work environment.

About Deb

I am a lifelong educator with experience in special education, counseling and staff development. Special interests outside of my chosen career field include entrepreneurship, investing and financial literacy.
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5 Responses to TEP Charter School Points to Tenure Problem

  1. glennw says:

    This is what Michelle Rhee tried in Washington DC before she was let go. Some teachers wanted it but it didn’t get past the union there.

    Seems like a good idea on paper or in one school but would like to see a large district implement it. As a teacher, I think I would love it . . . right up until I gave the star quarterback a non-passing grade and ended up having a quiet visit from a couple of school board members and a principal.

    • Robert Renzullo says:

      Glennw I didn’t read your post before I wrote mine. Thank you for saying something that needed to be said!

  2. sher says:

    It would be nerve wrecking to work under any condition where your job can be easily taken away, much less teaching. There are many reasons why a particular child may be having learning difficulties; to put that responsibility totally on a teacher is unfair. No amount of money can satisfy that burden.

  3. Robert Renzullo says:

    Tep charter school is an invention of Ms. Rhee in Washington, DC. It has no union and therefore it’s unbalanced, seperate, and unequal. Their focus isn’t on students, its on union busting…. not the teachers.( They’ll learn eventually that while they may be smart they’re also ignorant sellouts.) An innovative model for schools are NYC green dot charter schools. Unfortunately because their teachers refuse to accept a communist model of education they are paid about 60,000 dollars a year less. Green dot charter schools are the way this country will improve the education system to levels of excellence. The donations need to go to schools with balance…… sorry TEP.

  4. Bobby says:

    Ignorant sellouts? Because they do not work as part of an union?! Come on, they have courage and faith in their abilities that they do not worry about under performing. That is what the talented ones do…they do not panic knowing there is going to be an observation that day, plan a standout lesson, then go back to being the protected, lazy, ditto distributor tomorrow.

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