There are a number of schools in the United States that have adopted a set of very high expectations for their teachers, some of which are similar to the expectations set by TEP. There are also many individual teachers who take on enormous responsibilities that go well beyond any expectations set upon them by their school. Unfortunately, these amazing teachers and schools are the exception, not the rule. The reason for this is clear: although lip-service is paid to how much great teachers are valued, the compensation that these teachers receive makes evident the fact that they are not.
TEP aims to create a sustainable model that attracts, retains, and develops highly qualified individuals to teach in schools that serve low-income communities. These teachers must be valued in a way that matches the redefined expectations set for them. This means a genuine investment in teacher compensation. Therefore:
(1) All master teachers at TEP earn an annual base salary of $125,000. This holds for TEP teachers at all grade levels in both the elementary and middle school and for teachers of all subjects.
(2) TEP middle school master teachers have the opportunity to earn a significant annual bonus on top of their base salary. This bonus can be as high as $25,000 during a teacher’s first year of eligibility, increasing by as much as an additional $5,000 in each subsequent year. This bonus recognizes the special challenge of teaching middle school (5th through 8th grade). Teacher bonus compensation is based on the degree to which TEP's middle school meets goals for school-wide performance each year. This is measured by the attainment of specific student academic, attendance, and other aggressive goals. Learn more about TEP's annual bonus program for middle school teachers.
(3) All teachers at TEP are provided with a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental, and vision coverage, a 403b retirement plan, short and long term disability insurance, and term life insurance. Learn more about TEP's employee benefits.
Ultimately, the compensation component of the investment in teacher equity is perhaps the most revolutionary of the 3 R’s. However, it is only revolutionary because it is infrequently addressed. The first two R’s – Rigorous Qualifications and Redefined Expectations – are already part of the educational conversation surrounding excellent teachers and schools, albeit in limited form. But without a genuine investment in teacher compensation, discussion of these first two R’s rings hollow. Attracting highly qualified individuals to teaching, retaining great teachers in an intense profession with very high expectations, and sustaining a culture of constant development is realistic only when compensation is commensurate with these aims.