The Education Innovator #22
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The Education Innovator
 July 28, 2003 • Number 22
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  Past issues
What's inside...
Teacher Advancement Program
What's New
Department issues new report on reading and writing proficiency of students in five urban districts; the Education Commission of the States releases new review of research on teacher preparation; and OII calls for reviewers for the Parent Information and Resource Centers grant competition.
Innovations in the News
Nearly 800 students in New Jersey have signed up for the State's inter-district choice program, plus news on school improvement, charter schools, and magnet schools.

Teacher Advancement Program Designed to Move Talent into the Classroom
The Teacher Advancement Program (TAP), a project of the Milken Family Foundation, works to recruit talented people to become teachers and retain them once they are there. TAP is a whole-school reform model that is based on a comprehensive, research-based strategy. Borrowing principles from business, it provides teachers with a clear career path, complete with advancement opportunities. It compensates expert teachers for their skills and responsibilities, as well as for their performance and their students' achievement. It also restructures school schedules to accommodate teacher-led professional development and introduces competitive hiring practices. These design components can change each school's structure to make the teaching profession more attractive, the job conditions more manageable, and pay for high quality teachers significantly better.

Currently more than 2,000 educators and nearly 25,000 students are part of TAP, which is being implemented in more than 50 schools across the country. Under the TAP system, good teachers can earn higher salaries and advance professionally, just as in other careers. Mentor and master teachers receive stipends, in addition to their base pay, for added leadership and responsibilities. All educators are eligible for performance-based bonuses as evidenced by their professional practices that are judged by the principal, a master teacher, and another certified instructor, and determined by students' academic achievements and the school's overall academic progress. These awards average approximately $2,500 per teacher, although teachers have the potential to earn significantly more.

The effectiveness of the program is measured by student achievement data, as well as regular surveys of TAP principals and teachers. A recent study showed that all the initial demonstration TAP schools in Arizona made achievement gains in each of the first two years of implementation when they implemented all five TAP principles. Gains were as much as 51 percent larger than at control schools.

Representative John Boozman (R-AR) praised TAP when the grant from the Office of Innovation and Improvement was awarded to the Milken Foundation to expand the program in Arkansas, Arizona, and South Carolina. He said, "The Teacher Advancement Program is a perfect example of how we can get quality teachers in every classroom… By focusing on the continued growth of our teachers and by rewarding them for their dedication…" When speaking of this grant, Representative Jim DeMint (R-SC) also explained, "This grant will provide much-needed resources to our effort to retain and attract talented teachers…Other than parental involvement, nothing impacts our students more than the quality of their teachers."

For more information about the program, see

Note: The featured innovation answers the question, "What is it?" not "What works?" The program or innovation is interesting and innovative but does not necessarily have evidence of general effectiveness from a rigorous evaluation. The success of the project described may not be replicable, depending on unique conditions in differing locations.


What's New
From the U.S. Department of Education

The Department released results from a trial assessment of reading and writing proficiency in five urban school districts: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta. (Scores from the District of Columbia, which participates as a state in the regular NAEP assessment, were also included.) This NAEP report card on urban districts provides baseline data that can be used as a comparison to determine progress in these subjects. To read a press release on the report, see . For an overview of the report findings, see

Teacher Quality

The Education Commission of the States recently released a report that reviews research on teacher preparation and the implications for policy. The report is based on a review of 92 studies selected, using rigorous criteria, from more than 500 originally considered. These studies were used to answer eight questions about teacher preparation that are of particular importance to policy and education leaders. The report was funded under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Education. For an overview and access to the full report, see /html/educationIssues/teachingquality/tpreport/index.asp.

From OII

OII needs reviewers for the Parental Information and Resource Centers grant competition. Reviewers should be experienced in parental outreach and involvement, especially in high poverty areas; early childhood parent education; and/or the objectives of the No Child Left Behind Act. If you are interested in being a grant reviewer, please send a résumé to as soon as possible. For details about this grant review, see the announcement at


Innovations in the News

School Choice
New Jersey's experiment with allowing students to cross district lines for their schooling continues to grow, with nearly 800 students signed up for the inter-district choice program next fall. [More-The NJ Star Ledger] (July 17)

School Improvement
Although it is the middle of summer, hundreds of Kentucky students returned to school yesterday as part of a new year-round calendar—a schedule that's been adopted at 235 schools in Kentucky since 1995. [More-The Courier Journal] (July 15)

Charter Schools
Barnstable, Massachusetts, school officials have taken an unprecedented move in Massachusetts and encouraged all 12 of its public schools to turn into Horace Mann charter schools. [More-The Boston Globe] (July 21)

In Massachusetts, charter schools are an increasingly compelling option for parents who do not have private school tuition money or simply prefer a secular education. [More-The Saugus Advertiser] (July 17)

This fall, a new charter school, part of a national KIPP program, which will focus on 5th to 8th graders, will open with 90 fifth graders in the former Hartranft Community Center in North Philadelphia. [More-The Philadelphia Inquirer] (July 18)

Magnet Schools
New Haven, Connecticut is adding two more magnet schools. The schools provide a more specialized curriculum that is attracting thousands of students in the area. [More-WTNH-Connecticut] (July 15)


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Last Modified: 04/26/2011