Meta-analyses of studies of teacher characteristics show that while the effects of some teacher characteristics (e.g. degree level, teacher preparation, teacher certification) on student achievement are inconclusive, other characteristics such as teacher academic proficiency
, teacher verbal ability
, and teacher content-area knowledge
are related to improving student achievement. In addition, a certain threshold of teaching experience has been shown to have important positive effects on student achievement, since teachers tend to improve dramatically in their first few years in the classroom.
Using this research on highly-effective teachers, TEP teachers must demonstrate their qualifications in 4 major areas:
TEP re-imagines the life of a teacher by focusing on one essential principle: Students are best served by teachers who make their own continued growth a central priority. This principle naturally leads to a major restructuring of a teacher’s working life: TEP redefines the teacher’s work-day, work-year, and career arc to provide ample time, space, and support for teachers to prioritize and maximize their own growth.
There are a number of schools in the United States that have adopted a set of very high expectations for their teachers, some of which are similar to the expectations set by TEP. There are also many individual teachers who take on enormous responsibilities that go well beyond any expectations set upon them by their school. Unfortunately, these amazing teachers and schools are the exception, not the rule. The reason for this is clear: although lip-service is paid to how much great teachers are valued, the compensation that these teachers receive makes evident the fact that they are not.
TEP has created a sustainable model that attracts, retains, and develops highly qualified individuals to teach in schools that serve low-income communities. These teachers are valued in a way that matches the redefined expectations set for them: a $125,000 annual salary and the opportunity to earn a significant annual bonus (for middle school teachers) based on school-wide performance.
The school’s name – The Equity Project – emerges from the dual meaning of the word equity.
Equity means the value of an investment. TEP is particularly interested in teacher equity, the value of teachers in student achievement.
Equity also means fairness and equality. TEP aims to provide students from low-income families with equal access to outstanding teachers as a means of achieving educational equity.
TEP’s mission is a synthesis of these ideas: