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A Race to Close the Achievement Gap Without Burning Through Teachers

NEWARK, N.J. –– James Cavanagh is 22 years old, fresh out of the University of Delaware. With his degree in elementary education, he could have gotten a job anywhere –– and he chose to teach at one of the most demanding public schools in America.

His college buddies were hired at schools with mid-afternoon dismissals and two and a half months of summer vacation. For not much more pay, Cavanagh worked nearly all of August and this fall is putting in 12-hour days, plus attending graduate school.

In exchange, he gets to be a part of one of the nation’s top charter schools, North Star Academy, where poor, minority students routinely outperform their peers in wealthier ZIP codes on standardized tests. And he’s getting extensive support designed to make him both effective and eager to stick around.