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Author Sara Neufeld poses this question in an article in The Atlantic featuring UD alum James Cavanagh, ETE ’14.

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 in Newark, 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.

A small but influential group of schools like North Star, dubbed “no excuses” charters because of their high behavioral and academic expectations, has proven that, with very hard work by students and staff, the country’s crippling achievement gap is possible to narrow or even close. These schools helped inspire a national push to give struggling students more time in school.

But success created a different challenge: how to keep teachers from burning out and leaving.

Read the rest of the article in The Atlantic.