Saturday, June 6, 2009

New School Hopes Six-Figure Teacher Salaries Pave Way to Success

Wow!

Read this, colleagues, and then let's all move to New York!

Preston

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from "PoliticsToday.com"

People everywhere envy teachers for the comfortable schedule, reliable benefits, and job security, but teachers are not known for their lucrative compensation packages. A new charter school in New York City is looking to change that by offering six-figure salaries to recruit the best teachers.

The school, scheduled to open next fall for 120 fifth-graders, will offer its eight teachers yearly salaries of $125,000 with the potential for additional performance-based bonuses, more than twice the salary for New York City public school teachers and nearly two-and-a-half times the national average for teacher salaries.

According to an article in Friday's New York Times, the new school is looking to prove that teachers, not small-class sizes or high technology, are the backbone of an effective learning environment.

Known as The Equity Project Charter School, the school aims to be the practical implementation of research that highlights the role of skilled teachers in student success. According to the school's Web site, "TEP is uniquely focused on attracting and retaining master teachers. To do so, TEP uses a three-pronged strategy that it terms the 3 R's: Rigorous Qualifications, Redefined Expectations, & Revolutionary Compensation."

The new school has recruited an impressive array of teachers, including two Ivy League graduates and Joe Carbone, the gym teacher whose previous work includes time as Kobe Bryant's personal trainer.

"The idea [behind the school] is relatively simple," said founder and principal Zeke Vanderhoek in an interview with WNYC in March. "The key to educating anybody, but particularly important for low-income students, is a great teacher. The idea behind the school is that to attract and retain great teachers you have to do what you do in any other profession to attract and retain talent, and that is pay for it."

The school also aims to demonstrate that its model for teacher compensation can be accomplished using existing public funding; it is not relying on outside donations like some other charter schools, except to finance the cost of its building, which represents a cost not encountered by existing public schools.

The school's first class was chosen through a lottery that gave preference to neighborhood students and academic low performers; most of the students are from low-income Hispanic families.

Eventually, the school hopes to grow to 480 children in Grades 5 to 8, with 28 teachers.

The fact that the teachers will be well paid is not the only thing that distinguishes TEP from other schools. Because there are fewer teachers available, class sizes will be larger at TEP than in most public schools. The expected size is 30 students per class--six more than the average 5th grade class in New York City. TEP teachers will not have the same retirement benefits as members of the city's teachers' union and they can be fired at will.

Interestingly, the teachers will be making more than Vanderhoek, who, according to The New York Times, will earn $90,000.

The new school opens as President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, call for nationwide increases in the number of charter schools that the President hopes will stimulate innovation in education.

"Right now, there are caps on how many charter schools are allowed in some states, no matter how well they are preparing our students. That isn't good for our children, our economy, or our country," the President said during a speech at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on March 10. Assuming that there is a mechanism for accountability, the President called upon states "to reform their charter rules, and lift caps on the number of allowable charter schools, wherever such caps are in place."

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.