The New Teacher Project

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) works to ensure that poor and minority students get equal access to effective teachers. It helps urban school districts and states recruit and train new teachers, staff challenged schools, design evaluation systems, and retain teachers who have demonstrated the ability to raise student achievement. TNTP is a non-profit organization and was founded by Michelle Rhee in 1997.

Overview
A national nonprofit organization founded by teachers, TNTP is driven by the belief that effective teachers have a greater impact on student achievement than any other school factor. In response, TNTP develops customized programs and policy interventions that enable education leaders to find, develop and keep great teachers. Since its inception in 1997, TNTP has recruited or trained approximately 43,000 teachers - mainly through its Teaching Fellows programs - who have taught an estimated 7 million students TNTP has also released a series of studies of the policies and practices that affect the quality of the nation's teacher workforce, including The Widget Effect (2009) and Teacher Evaluation 2.0 (2010). In 2011, TNTP is active in more than 25 cities, including 10 of the nation's 15 largest.

History
The New Teacher Project (TNTP) was founded in 1997 by former Teach For America alumna Michelle Rhee with the aim of closing the achievement gap by providing high-need students with outstanding teachers.

Initially, TNTP focused primarily on setting up selective alternate route to certification programs, which provided an accelerated path into the classroom for people switching careers into teaching. These Teaching Fellows programs “proved it is possible to recruit individuals with strong content knowledge in math and science to teach in high-poverty and high-minority schools” and “that aggressive recruitment and the removal of bureaucratic hurdles can help bring in minority candidates.

As it became increasingly familiar with the needs of urban districts, TNTP began helping districts identify and address additional challenges, including hiring teachers earlier, staffing challenged schools and providing rigorous teacher certification training. It also began analyzing the counterproductive policies at the root of these challenges, and publishing reports to offer solutions and encourage reform.

Current Work
In 2009, TNTP published The Widget Effect: Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act Upon Teacher Effectiveness. The report, which surveyed over 15,000 teachers and 1,300 principals in 12 school districts, concluded that the U.S. public education system treats teachers as interchangeable parts, rather than individual professionals.

TNTP has also advocated for teacher merit pay and for using teacher effectiveness as a component of evaluations.

Outside Comment
In August 2010, the third year of a state-sponsored study assessed the effectiveness of newly certified teachers in Louisiana. Out of 17 teacher preparation providers, TNTP was the only one to earn top marks in 4 of 5 subject areas.

    The New Teacher Project is “producing teachers who in aggregate appear to be making a positive contribution to student achievement from the time they complete their training program and begin teaching."

In 2009, a report by the Center for American Progress and U.S. Chamber of Commerce commended TNTP.

    TNTP is “addressing stubborn challenges by pursuing familiar notions of good teaching and effective schooling in impressively coherent, disciplined, and strategic ways.”

Business Model
TNTP is a revenue-generating nonprofit. The majority of its revenue comes from contracts with districts and states to supply services; additional funding for new program development and research is provided by donors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Controversy
In June 2009, the New Teacher Project published its Widget Effect report on teacher evaluation, conducted in collaboration with over 50 district and state officials and 25 teachers union representatives. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten provided a public statement of support for report, saying it “points the way to a credible, fair, accurate and effective teacher evaluation system that would improve teaching and learning.”

Though the AFT agreed that the “overall conclusions of the report are sound,” the union disputed the data on the number of teachers dismissed in Toledo, Ohio. Later, it was reported that at least some of the data, provided to TNTP by Toledo Public schools, were incorrect. After reconciling the data with Toledo Public Schools and the Toledo Federation of Teachers, TNTP adjusted the count of non-tenured teachers dismissed by 2 (from 5 to 7) from SY03-04 to SY07-08.

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