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Six figure teachers

June 5, 2009

The Question: Can a great salary produce great results in the classroom?

Zeke Vanderhoek has a theory. The 32-year-old Yale grad believes that the key to success in education is great teachers — instructors matter more than good principals, small classes, or technology in the classroom. And he’s got the backing for a project to test that theory.

In the fall, the Equity Project will open to students. To attract the best possible talent, the teachers will each get paid around $125,000 a year. And they’ll have to work hard for the privilege:

To make ends meet, teachers will hold responsibilities usually shouldered by other staff members, like assistant principals (there will be none). There will be no deans, substitute teachers (except for extended leaves) or teacher coaches. Teachers will work longer hours and more days, and have 30 pupils, about 6 more than the typical New York City fifth-grade class.

But the hard work isn’t scaring away applicants. (Including a PE teacher who worked for eight years as Kobe Bryant’s personal trainer).

The Equity Project will open with 120 fifth graders this year and eventually grow to 480 students in Grades 5 through 8.

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