The League of Professional Educators (LPE) seeks to elevate the public profile of professional educators and the perception of the profession in order to attract and retain a consistently high quality pool of human capital to the field of education.
Alter the public perception of the teaching profession from one of mediocrity, poor compensation and little respect, to that of a true meritocracy, where superstars are justly rewarded via recognition and earnings on par with the highest profile, highest paying professions.
The League of Professional Educators will launch a bold program called The Draft designed specifically to reverse the steadily declining quality of human capital being attracted to the field of American K-12 education. The Draft will establish an elite tier within the teaching profession, similar to Major League Baseball (MLB) among professional baseball players, creating upside outliers in income and celebrity status within pop culture.
Perception of education as a career with low pay relative to other opportunities available to highly educated, highly motivated individuals is deeply engrained in our social consciousness and yet it is inaccurate. The pay, benefits and job security available to recent graduates entering the teaching profession compares very favorably to those of other very specialized, prestigious careers including everything from accountant to actor and professional ballplayer to musician. Even the averages among veterans of the field compare favorably. So how has an inaccurate belief become such a commonly held conviction? The answer is upside outliers and every profession, with the exception of teaching, has them.
The average “computer geek” earning $60,000 per year with no job security, no benefits and working twenty hour days doesn’t grab the national headlines nor capture the nation’s imagination, however, Bill Gates does. He does so, not for his genius, but because of the size of his wallet, which is commonly considered to be the only gauge of intelligence and success in American culture. So kids aspire to be Bill Gates, not the “computer geek” per se.
The average actress with a SAG card earns $5,000 per year with no job security, no benefits and faces monumental odds against her ever actually making a living at her chosen profession. In fact, until she can do so, society looks down on her and mocks her as a “waitress/actress”. So why do so many otherwise intelligent individuals pursue the profession? The answer is that every one of them believes they will be the next Julia Roberts, earning fame and fortune as reward for their talent and hard work. They believe they have a chance, no matter how slim, that they will become the upside outlier and thus are willing to abandon all other possibilities in favor of that pursuit.
How about professional baseball players? We all know how much A-Rod makes and most are aware that the league minimum for the MLB is $400,000 per year (2009). What many don’t know is that there are roughly 7,000 “professional” baseball players, yet only 1/10th of those actually play in the MLB, thereby earning that league minimum. The other 90% of professional baseball players earn an average starting salary between $8,400 for Single A ball and $60,000 in the minor league. So while 10% of all professional baseball players earn a minimum of $400,000 per year, the rest start at an average under $20,000. If low pay isn’t enough to detract from a career in baseball, consider these facts. Of all kids playing high school baseball in the US, less than half of 1% will ever make it to the professional level and of those who do make it, the average career lasts just a hair over 2.5 years. While baseball may look like a poor career choice, it’s actually a far better option than basketball, football or soccer, where careers don’t last nearly as long and the odds of a high school ballplayer making it to the pros is roughly .05% or 90% less likely than baseball. So why do kids think sports are their ticket to fame and fortune? They believe they will be the upside outlier, the next A-Rod, in spite of the spectacular odds against it.
The three career examples above are not exceptional, in fact they are the norm for all professions that are typically considered far more lucrative than education. In nearly every profession, the average income is very close to that of the education professional. Very often, it’s even less and that doesn’t even take into account the superior job security, better benefits, more favorable hours, infinitely more job opportunities and unrivaled career longevity that teaching offers over most others. So why does education carry the stigma of low relative pay and the requisite lack of respect that demands from Americans? The answer is that education is the only field that doesn’t offer the upside outlier potential. In every career from entertainer to engineer and politician to priest, there exists the possibility of being rewarded on a grand scale with recognition and earnings. Every career that is, except education...until now.
The League of Professional Educators (LPE) will launch The Draft, a program designed to recognize the elite among America’s teaching professionals. LPE will conduct an annual draft, whereby we identify ten of this country’s best educators and offer each one a 5 year, $1 million contract in exchange for their active participation in the improvement of the entire American education system. At the end of year five, LPE will be fully staffed with fifty of the country’s top educators. Fifty “major league” educators each with million dollar contracts. Upside outliers in the field of education.
Every school day nearly four million teachers wage a war against apathy, bureaucracy, and weakening societal priorities, in an effort to help over fifty million kids tap their true potential. Hidden within their ranks are teachers who, against all odds, successfully reach the unreachable, inspire the nihilists, and elevate the downtrodden by rejecting outdated teaching scripts in favor of self-styled, exciting new methods.
Each year the League of Professional Educators will scout America’s 130,000+ primary and secondary schools, in search of a fresh class of ten All-Stars from among these major league educators to fill out our roster of the fifty best educators in America. When drafted by the League, our new recruits will sign million dollar contracts and become an integral part of the most respected, powerful force in American K-12 education.
The Draft, our version of the scouting combine, is where thousands of prospects and their entourage of support, including past and present students, parents, peers and other community members, will make their best case for why they should be drafted by the LPE. The screening process begins by ranking the prospects according to the Gates Foundations’ MET Program and continues until LPE’s panel of experts culls them down to the top 20.
Via a weekly network television show, The Draft will take you inside the classrooms of storm ravaged Louisiana, neighborhoods of poverty stricken South Carolina, elite academies of Manhattan’s rich, technology driven charter schools of Los Angeles and 16 other locations that are home to this country’s best educators. The 20 Prospects will then be brought to the LPE Combine, an unused school during summer break, where they will be put through a series of challenges including setting up a classroom with limited resources, writing a lesson plan to be used in a class with actual students from the area surrounding LA, conducting conferences with the parents of those children, developing ideas for integrating a chosen piece of technology, celebrity volunteer(s), etc into a lesson, and more.
Throughout the draft, celebrities from entertainment, sports, business and politics, will be interviewed to tell about the teachers who inspired them and if possible, make a surprise, on-camera appearance in that teacher’s classroom to thank them in person.
The 10 LPE Draft Picks for a given “Season” will be announced in front of a star studded event rivaling the academy awards and sign million dollar contracts to begin their tenure as America’s Teaching All-Stars.
The goal for The Draft is to create a new kind of celebrity hero, the type who inspires fifty million schoolchildren to be smarter, four million peers to be proud of their profession, and a nation to get involved. These recruits will offer realistic, achievable possibilities for American kids and challenge the status quo among the colleagues who also call themselves educators. It will raise the bar of expectations and possibilities.
LEVERAGING CREDIBLE SUCCESS
Through the publicity generated by The Draft, the American public will come to know the members of the LPE as individuals who have dedicated their lives to the improvement of our children and have done so in spite of the odds against them. As a direct result, LPE becomes a powerful tool for these elite educators to reach more children through our second tier programs such as the LPE Stamp of Approval for video games, educational programs, private schools, TV shows, movies and books, the LPE Rating System for the same, LPE Lesson Plans, LPE Standards and more. The LPE brand will be the gold standard for American K-12 education because it will be an organization comprised solely of the best educators in the country. These are the people on the front lines of American K-12 education, whose methods have been battle tested and proven successful. The League of Professional Educators is their vehicle for delivering that commitment and success to the entire country.
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