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Mastery gets $7 million from feds

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Mastery Charter Schools has been awarded $7.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education from the Teacher Incentive Fund, which is used towards developing new systems of teacher compensation that reward performance rather than just longevity and education level.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah announced the award, which Mastery CEO Scott Gordon called "a game changer" in a press release from the congressman’s office.

The award comes just a few days after talk show host Oprah Winfrey gave Mastery $1 million, which it will put towards opening new schools.

Gordon said that this grant "will allow us to invest in programs that assure that every child has a fantastic teacher. Great teachers translate into quality education. This will allow Mastery to grow and will allow more Philadelphia children to get a great education.”

Mastery already uses a pay-for-performance system, Gordon said. Starting salaries are slightly higher than in the School District, but raises are based partly on performance. He said this system creates a culture in the school that everyone — students and teachers — are learners.

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