What is the focus of our schools? What do we talk about most in our schools? Who do we think about the most in our schools? According to "The Equity Project" the focus is clearly on teachers and their salary:

The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School believes that teacher quality is the most important factor in achieving educational equity for low income students. Spurred by this belief, TEP reallocates its public funds by making an unprecedented investment in attracting and retaining great teachers. Plus an annual bonus of up to $25,000.

They further explain that they have refined what will make them a great school:
"These redefined expectations are unified by one principle: student achievement is maximized when teachers have the time and support to constantly improve their craft."

Don't get me wrong. I am all for teachers getting paid more, and I fully support giving them the time they need to "improve their craft". But TEP is going focusing on the wrong thing. This is something I have believed for a long time. The focus of every school should be on the learning of students in the building. Anything else is a waste of time. Schools do not exist to provide adults with a job, a career, or a calling. Schools exist so that kids can learn. If kids don't learn, it doesn't matter how much money teachers make. If kids don't learn, it doesn't matter how much professional development the teachers receive, or how much they observe their peers. How can you make sure students learn?

By focusing on student learning!

TEP says that student achievement is important, and they better show that the low-income students they service do indeed get higher scores if they want all $6 million donated for a school building. The problem is that you don't focus on student learning by focusing nearly completely on your teachers.

Here are my questions for The Equity Project:
1. What do you want your students to learn?
2. How are you going to know if they learned it?
3. What are you going to do (in a systematic, timely way) when they don't learn it?

Without the answers to these questions, we don't know how this or any school will do, regardless of how much other stuff they may claim will "save" education.

As it so often happens, while I was writing this, I saw this BLOGPOST from Harvard Education Publishing, which sums it up much more eloquently than I do.

Have a Good Life.