Projected Statewide Impact of “Opportunity Culture” School Models

Opportunity CultureThe impact of “Opportunity Culture” schools could be students gaining years of learning, and teachers earning hundreds of thousands more over their careers.

In a major policy brief out, Public Impact estimates what a state would gain by implementing “Opportunity Culture” models statewide, using North Carolina as an example for analysis. Opportunity Culture models redesign jobs to extend the reach of excellent teachers to more students, for more pay, and within budget—typically in collaborative teams on which all teachers can pursue instructional excellence together and are formally accountable for all of the students they serve.

Using conservative assumptions to analyze the cumulative impact over one generation of students, or approximately 16 years of implementation, in three-fourths of North Carolina’s classrooms, Public Impact’s analysis projects that:

  • Students on average would gain 3.4 more years’ worth of learning than in a traditional school model in the K-12 years.
  • Teachers leading teams would earn up to $848,000 more in a 35-year career, with considerably higher figures possible for large-span teacher-leader roles not included in this analysis.
  • Teachers joining teams to extend their reach could earn approximately an additional $240,000 over their careers.
  • State income tax revenue would be up to $700 million higher in present-value terms over 16 years of implementation.
  • State domestic product would increase by $4.6 billion to $7.7 billion in present-value terms over the next 16 years.

The authors project that teachers leading teams in states with pay closer to the national average would earn up to $1 million more in a 35-year career. Public Impact has separately suggested that a 10 percent average base pay increase is also needed for teachers in North Carolina, where pay is near the bottom nationally.

The brief provides an analytical framework that any state could use to estimate the benefits of transitioning to higher-paid school models that extend highly effective teachers’ reach. It addresses the ways a state could make the transition to these Opportunity Culture models, and some of the critical policy conditions needed for the transition.

Public Impact’s analysis projects that children would acquire more than three extra years’ worth of learning in a K-12 career-which would translate into average lifetime earnings increases of $100,000 to $130,000 per student, according to research showing the link between student achievement and lifetime earnings potential.

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