"All of the research, and our experience in schools and insights from the world of business, has led us to the conclusion that talented teachers are essential to ensuring excellence and rigor in the educational experience of every young person in America. Good teachers are to education what education is to all other professions. They are the indispensable element—the sunlight and the oxygen—the foundation on which everything else is built. To improve achievement among students of all backgrounds in America and to assure that we remain competitive in the global economy, we must have high-quality human capital in our schools. It is only through the implementation of comprehensive strategies that we will assure that every student in every school in our country is guided and taught by the professional worthy of the name 'teacher.'"
Lowell MilkenTAP Founder
Research tells us that during the school day, the quality of the classroom teacher is the number one factor driving student achievement. Yet our nation desperately needs a far greater number of talented people to enter and stay in teaching. How, then, do we motivate those with high potential to choose education as a career? And how do we encourage them to remain in the profession?
Education reform pioneer Lowell Milken created TAP™: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement to do exactly that. TAP restructures and revitalizes the profession by offering teachers and principals a thriving learning environment with powerful opportunities to excel, and ultimately to improve student achievement. Recognizing that piecemeal solutions have not proven equal to the task, Lowell established the TAP model with four elements that work together to develop the skilled educators all of America's children deserve:
- Multiple career paths: opportunities for more responsibilities and commensurate pay;
- Ongoing applied professional growth: continuous on-site professional development embedded within the school day;
- Instructionally focused accountability: fair evaluations based on clearly defined, research-based standards; and
- Performance-based compensation: salaries and bonuses tied to responsibilities, instructional performance and student achievement growth.
Launched in 1999, TAP impacts more than 20,000 teachers and 200,000 students. Innovative partnerships among educators, government, unions, businesses and foundations have facilitated TAP's growth into areas with high-need student populations, including large urban regions.
Rapidly growing demand for TAP's proven system of reform catalyzed the establishment of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) in 2005 as an independent 501(c)(3) public charity. Equipped with a staff drawn from education and business, combined with a broad coalition of school practitioners, NIET manages and supports the TAP system nationally, and works to ensure TAP's effectiveness and sustainability in schools located in diverse communities across the country.
Lynn Kuykendall, Master Teacher, Clinton Elementary School, Clinton, South Carolina
"We do the initial legwork and field testing so we know the strategies can work with our students, and then we share the positive results with classroom teachers. But then we don't just leave them in the lurch. We go in and support them through the follow-up piece as they implement the new strategies."