What Happens When You Increase Educator Wages

Written by Dan Murphy

How many teachers with only six years of experience do you know making $125,000 a year? How about teachers eligible for a 12 percent bonus? None, we assume.

But that’s how the Equity Project’s TEP charter school in New York City is compensating its teachers. And with its students earning higher state test scores than their peers at other schools, it’s certainly making a difference.

Vox reports the average New York City teacher makes between $64,000 and $76,000, but back in 2009, TEP decided to pay a whole lot more. The raise did come with some significant strings unattached: no unionization and no guarantee of tenure.

Teachers are chosen through a “rigorous selection process,” says Vox, including a day-long audition, and usually have around six years of previous teaching experience. The higher pay comes with a heftier work load as well. TEP’s average class size is 31, and teachers handle administrative duties outside of class, too.

Need proof that this school is tough not just on students, but educators, too? After TEP’s first year, almost half of the teachers either weren’t rehired or chose to leave.

TEP is walking a different path on school policies, too, which teachers helped develop during their six weeks of summer training. They also spend more time observing each other in the classroom, trading critiques and ideas — which experts agree is an underutilized boon.

The results? After four years, the students — who were at comparable income and achievement levels to peers at other schools and none of whom were expelled or suspended in the first four years — are scoring higher in math, science and language arts and, according to Vox, “erased 78 percent of the achievement gap between Hispanic students and whites in the eighth grade.” In math specifically, Mathematica Policy Research says that TEP students learned in four years what would’ve taken more than five and a half years at other schools.

Higher pay for higher test scores? Sounds like a no-brainer.

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This post originally appeared on NationSwell.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Angela P.
Angie P4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

JL A4 years ago

paying more appropriately for the skills and education required should help recruitment if sufficiently widespread rather than such isolated instances

Anne F.
Anne F4 years ago

Interesting - more salary money and lots of time and teamwork pay off

Carole R.
Carole R4 years ago

Thanks for a good post.

Sharon Stein
Sharon Stein4 years ago

Better paid teachers are better, more dedicated ones!

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm4 years ago

I dunno what schools you are talking about Ron. My Grandkids surely don’t go to a school like that. I WILL agree parents need to be more involved in their childs development and learning. Our entire family helps all the kids in the family as much as is possible. We are all also up at the school supporting their shows and activities.
The three Rs ARE very important……but look around you… Socializing is also VERY important. Learning to cope with each other and resloving issues with TALK instead of guns is also important. Yes there is tomuch stress in our daily lives on social media. My grandkids get to use very little of it. MOstly TEACHERS need to be free to TEACH…..not be pawns for administrators. Our teachers are so dedicated they go to plays and even to the schools our kids graduate to to check on them. They have a real connection with the kids. Not ALL teachers are bad…..in fact MOST are very good and even spend their OWN money to supply thier students with what they need if the school cant provide it. Teachers get a bad rap in this country and always have.
It needs to stop.

Janis K.
Janis K4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Chris Ringgold
Chris Ringgold4 years ago

TEP is doing an excellent job of paying their teachers according to the work load & effort the teachers are willing to do. Other school districts should take after TEP.

Chris Ringgold
Chris Ringgold4 years ago

I think that the teachers (everywhere) that are already working very hard to make sure the students get good grades & test scores, should get paid as much as TEP's teachers (or at least as high as their school district's budget will allow), because it seems unfair for teachers to grade all those papers, handle a whole classroom, & still get little pay.

Miriam O.

Thanks for sharing and posting!