First off, I do have to say how disappointed I was that this was only 13 or so minutes out of the whole episode. Also, I found that Katie’s ignorance on why a school after only its first year (and probably the testing was done in March of their first year) didn’t have better test results. Sorry, can’t fix a kid who can’t read in 5th grade overnight. Just doesn’t work that way. Not to mention that they said 2/3 of the kids that came there were reading below grade level when they first arrived.
There were some things that I really did like about the model for the school such as no asst. principal or other duplicate staff members that take up much of the expense of running a school. The principal said that he looks for 3 things in a good teacher, all things I can also agree with are important; Classroom Management, Student Engagement, and Evidence that shows student achievement. Although, I think we all expect that from the typical public school, don’t we? Plus the teachers don’t have a contract. They are like any other business employee, an at will employee which means they can be fired any time.
However, I am concerned that their employees said they were putting in 80 to 90 hours a week! When do you have time to sleep? I also felt badly for the one teacher who said she put her family on the back burner for this job. Was it really worth $125K? They are often video taped for training and review purposes which occur after school hours. Since they don’t have as many staff, it seemed like they never had a break to plan for their classes. Another thing that puzzled me is the ratio of 16.5 students per teacher and yet many of the class sizes were 30 kids.
Honestly, I love what I do and sometimes work 12-16 hour days myself. But as much as I love kids, I don’t think I could work in this environment even for $125K. It was interesting because Katie asked the one of the two teachers that was fired after the first year how she felt about it and she said that she was actually relieved. I think I would be too.
I am still not sure that the TEP School is the answer to our education woes. I think you could pay a little less, hire a few more staff members and possibly get the same if not better results because your teachers aren’t working 80 hours of work each week. Yes, high salaries will attract good teachers, but I think it would attract any teacher. Like the good principal said, “There are great teachers in almost every public school in the city.” Yet, I can guarantee they aren’t there because of the money.
Here is the video in case you missed it.