Blog: The Educated Reporter

The $500,000 physics teacher.

Time for another round of MacArthur Foundation grants, and another round of envy from unanointed intelligentsia. (I have at least one friend in media who wonders each year if he will be so honored; do font designers and jellyfishologists do this too?)

Two people on the list are relevant to education: Amir Abo-Shaeer, a Santa Barbara physics teacher who created a technology academy within his high school and runs a notable robotics program, and Emmanuel Saez, a Berkeley economist who is involved in the research on the value of a kindergarten teacher that got some recent David Leonhardt love in the New York Times (though, like most economists who touch on education, his portfolio goes way beyond that).

A kindergarten teacher may be worth $320,000, according to Saez and his colleagues, but now a physics teacher is worth $500,000. Props to the foundation for honoring a schoolteacher, and to Abo-Shaeer for devoting his “genius” to the classroom. Congratulations too to my friend David, whom I know never sat around hoping for a MacArthur, for no other reason than it gives us another whole category of jokes with which to rib him.