2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 13, 2010 7:35 PM by njessup

    $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers



      Did anyone catch the article: The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers, by David Leonhardt, In the New York Times on July 27, 2010?


      How’s this for an Essential Question: How much do your kindergarten teacher and classmates affect the rest of your life? This question was presented at the beginning of the article. (Well maybe it’s not an Essential Question but certainly food-for-thought)

      The focus of the story was “the life paths of almost 12,000 children who had been part of a well-known education experiment in Tennessee in the 1980s. The children are now about 30, well started on their adult lives.”

      It goes on to explain: “the Tennessee experiment found that some teachers were able to help students learn vastly more than other teachers. And just as in other studies, the effect largely disappeared by junior high, based on test scores. Yet [the researchers] took another look at the students in adulthood, they discovered that the legacy of kindergarten had re-emerged. Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.


      All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Over time, the effect seems to grow, too.”



      So how did they come up with the estimate that a standout kindergarten teacher is worth about $320,000 a year? “That’s the present value of the additional money that a full class of students can expect to earn over their careers.” Add to this that: “This estimate doesn’t take into account social gains, like better health and less crime.”


      So what’s the Intel Teach connection? The Intel Teach Program can help teachers help students learn. I think Intel trained teachers are vastly more able to help students learn. My favorite passage from the article was: “Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance. The tests that 5-year-olds take may pick up these skills, even if later multiple-choice tests do not.” Take out the words Good early education and substitute it with Project Based Learning and take out the words 5-year-olds and substitute it with students and you have the Intel Teach Program.


      This was a short “good-read”. You can find it at:


        • Re: $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers

          Tom - thanks for sharing this one - I had missed it when it came out.  But what I quickly found out is that many people are blogging and having discussions regarding this topic.


          I also think that your connection to the Intel Teach Program is a good one - and for me it really makes sense on why Intel is developing the Elements courses.


          I wonder if any local districts are going to have discussions about this- if this impacts anyone - I would love to hear the discussions you are involved with.

          • Re: $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers

            Thanks for sharing the article. I am an elementary math coach and sometimes in our building K-2 teachers can be overlooked becuase of 3 - 5 testing accountability pressures. I look forward to sharing this article with my Kindergarten teachers. I will keep you posted!!