Argument: Competition b/w teachers in charter schools incentivizes performance

Issue Report: Charter schools


Larry Abramson. “For Charter Schools, New Orleans Is Citywide Lab”. NPR. October 3, 2006 – Charter schools have the freedom to hire whom they want, and for this school, being young and enthusiastic counts for a lot. Feinberg knows that she and the school face tremendous pressure to improve the test scores of the city’s most challenging students.

“But it’s great pressure, I mean it’s pressure that makes you work harder, that gives you a sense of urgency every day that they must learn these skills,” Feinberg says. “If you don’t produce the results that need to be produced, it’s very possible that you could lose your job.”

That lack of job security has turned teachers against charter schools in many cities. The threat has been dulled in New Orleans — the state has taken over failing schools, so teachers unions lost their citywide contract, and much of their clout. The teachers who are working at schools like KIPP Believe don’t have time for much of a social life.

“The teachers I have gotten have been people who can give 110% of their life right now over to teaching…” says Principal Adam Meinig. “We’re here on Saturday on Sunday, painting the walls and unpacking furniture.”

John McCain said in the last US presidential debate in October 2008: “Charter schools aren’t the only answer, but they’re providing competition…choice and competition amongst schools is one of the key elements that’s already been proven in places like New Orleans and New York City and other places, where we have charter schools, where we take good teachers and we reward them and promote them.”[1]