I am generally skeptical of the corporate-created/funded charter schools out there but this one is not like other models I've seen. One of the major aspects that excite me is their creative use of budget to simultaneously increase teacher salaries (starting at $125,000 each) while increasing teacher responsibilities and leadership roles in their school. They are fairly transparent about this as well, using only money provided from the state to pay for operating costs. They give a lot to their teachers but they also get a lot from them, and that balance means the world to me.
A few years ago I read a book called The Secrets of TSL, a book describing the use of Weighted-Student Funding as a way of reorganizing how money is spent in schools. Instead of the central hub of a school district mandating where money goes to, each school's leadership makes decisions based on what is coming in (and that number is determined how many students and what type of student; special ed students provided more money, for example). This kind of trust in leadership is very lacking across the School District of Philadelphia. Empowerment Schools are mandated to use programs like Corrective Reading/Math that do not have much research to support that they help in learning (we all know they help in testing, but is testing really what we want to focus on?).
I recognize that trust is a hard thing to earn - just look at the School Reform Commissioners who just left. But I think we need to have faith in our leadership that we know is of high quality, and seek out those who could be. Recognize where some teachers might be able to take larger roles in their schools/districts and maybe we would be able to take some pressure off overworked principals. Hopefully through that the vox populi of the United States will also regain their trust in what we do on a daily basis.
You trust us with your kids every day - don't tie our hands behind our backs while you do it.