Zeke Vanderhoek, a 31 year old Yale graduate, received approval from the New York State Board of Regents to open a new charter middle school in 2009. What makes this school different is the way it pays its teachers. Teachers will receive a base salary of $125,000 plus bonuses based on the students and the schools performance. Mr. Vanderhoek believes that the high salaries will bring in the best teachers and which will directly correlate to better educated and better performing students. This is an experiment that he believes will serve as a model for other schools in the future. To make sure this project has control students will be admitted through a lottery system weighted to under performing children. Article
After reading the article I continued to read the various reader comments and found a large number of people becoming upset and accusing Mr. Vanderhoek of treating education like a business. Several comments claimed equitable funding for all schools is a better option but gave no explanation why they felt that way. According to my logic if we break down all the variables in education we will find it looks like a business with inputs and a system producing outputs. We hope the final product is a well educated student. So why can't business principles be applied to elementary education with the market determining the demand and prices for teachers? Teachers always complain about being underpaid and parents always complain of a lack of quality educators. So let's see if Mr. Vanderhoek has something here. If Mr. Vanderhoek can bring in better talent by increasing demand he will be able to have a more qualified pool of educators with the idea of creating a better output. This would also put greater accountability on the shoulders of Principals and Education Boards if their schools and districts underperformed and extreme praise if it works. I may be naive to how school districts operate now but treating it more like a business sounds like a good idea to me.