A small New York City charter school opened five years ago with an attention-grabbing premise: Paying teachers $125,000 salaries would lure ace faculty and help poor children learn.
A new study of the middle school, called The Equity Project, suggests that the experiment is working. The report to be released Friday by Mathematica Policy Research said the school’s students made more progress than similar children attending traditional city schools.
After four years at the charter school, eighth-graders showed average test score gains in math equal to an additional year and a half of school, compared with district students. The study found these charter students’ gains equaled more than an extra half-year in science and almost an extra half-year in English.
The Equity Project made headlines in 2008 when it announced it would pay nearly double the average salary of teachers in the city’s district schools. Joshua Furgeson, one of the report’s authors, said it shows that a “school that focuses its resources and attention on hiring and developing the best teachers can substantially improve student achievement.”