The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the achievement gap by ensuring that high-need students get outstanding teachers. Founded by teachers in 1997, TNTP partners with school districts and states to implement scalable responses to their most acute teacher quality challenges. Since its inception, TNTP has trained or hired approximately 43,000 teachers, benefiting an estimated 7 million students nationwide. It has established more than 75 programs and initiatives in 31 states and published four seminal studies on urban teacher hiring and school staffing.
Every child deserves an excellent education, yet a persistent gap in academic achievement separates poor and minority students from White students. By the end of high school, African-American and Hispanic students read and do math at virtually the same level as 8th grade White students. As a result, African-American and Hispanic students are much less likely to graduate from high school, acquire a college diploma, or earn a middle-class living. In a nation founded on principles of equality, this gap in student achievement is evidence that America's schools have not delivered on the promise of an equal education for all.
Effective teachers can close or eliminate the achievement gap. Research has shown that teacher quality is the single most important variable that schools control in their efforts to provide students with an excellent education. A 2006 analysis of Los Angeles public school data concluded that, “having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years in a row may be enough to close the black-white test score gap” (Gordon, Kane and Staiger, 2006). A 2002 study of teachers in Texas found that, “having a high quality teacher throughout elementary school can substantially offset or even eliminate the disadvantage of low socio-economic background” (Rivkin, Hanushek and Kain, 2002). Unfortunately, research has also shown that schools serving urban and low-income communities, where poor and minority students are concentrated, are far less likely to be staffed with effective teachers. In order to close the achievement gap, TNTP believes that high-need students must be provided with outstanding teachers.
The New Teacher Project's Approach
The New Teacher Project believes that the fundamental structures, policies and institutions that influence teacher quality (from certification providers to district Human Resources offices to collective bargaining agreements) must align with the goal of maximizing teacher quality in high-need schools. As an organization created by teachers, we find inspiration in the hard work, talent and impact of America’s best educators. Today, the simple premise that teachers matter drives all aspects of our work. We undertake a range of activities to increase the concentration of highly effective teachers in high-need schools:
-We create innovative programs that bring high-quality teachers into hard-to-staff schools;
-We identify the policy barriers that keep schools from hiring the best teachers possible, and advocate for necessary reforms;
-We work hand-in-hand with school districts and school leaders to staff the lowest-performing schools with excellent teachers; and
-We develop new and better ways to prepare, develop, and certify teachers for public schools.