Do teachers care about terrific career opportunities that let them stay in the classroom? Do teachers long for jobs that pay them more—substantially more—for leading their peers and reaching many more students with their excellent teaching? Do teachers want jobs that give them time during school hours to collaborate with and learn from their peers? Judging from the 708 applications now stacked at Project L.I.F.T., teachers are thundering, “Yes!”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools started Project L.I.F.T. to support gap-closing reforms in high-need and historically low-performing schools; it and three pilot schools in the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ “Innovation Zone,” are the first district sites to use Opportunity Culture school models developed by Public Impact to reach more students with excellent teachers, for more pay, within budget.
The flood of applications didn’t surprise Zone Superintendent and L.I.F.T. Executive Director Denise Watts. “Teachers really want to have an impact in the classroom—they don’t all want to be principals.”
And to those who argue compensation doesn’t matter to teachers, “be real,” Watts says. “I’ve been on the other side of the desk when a teacher tells me she’s pursuing other opportunities because of the compensation. Teachers are not afraid of the accountability if we provide them those compensation avenues.”