TNTP is starting a blog. Does the world need another education blog, you might ask? It might not. Certainly there has been no blog shortage reported. But after years of resisting the urge, we recently decided the time was right for us to embrace our inner 2004 and join the fray.
First of all, every day we’re wrestling with big challenges and learning a lot about how to ensure that more kids get great teachers. We hope this blog will be an outlet for sharing that work more regularly and informally than would be possible otherwise. Right now, for example, we’re asking: How do we evaluate teachers in a way that is meaningful, accurate and fair? How do we ensure that the best teachers are valued the way they ought to be? What would a next-generation career ladder for teachers look like?
Our approach organizationally has always been a blend of policy and practice. When we engage with a problem, we develop possible solutions and implement them at the ground level. We’re helping build more meaningful evaluation systems in school districts, exploring innovations in compensation and career pathways with several charter school networks, revamping the fundamentals of teacher training and certification, and working to find and celebrate some of the most outstanding teachers across the country.
We might write about any or all of this work in a future publication. But we also want to spotlight promising practices and share what we’re learning as we’re learning it.
We also hope we can offer a different perspective. You can find a lot of blogs about education policy, and a lot of blogs about life in the classroom—but not as many about how policy ideas are actually playing out in real life, at real schools.
That is our world. It’s a messy one, of course. Our 330 staff members spend most of their time in schools and districts across the country, most of them in low-income communities, most of them working very hard to improve outcomes for students despite significant challenges. We feel quite lucky to do this work. Every day, we see teachers and school leaders who are living proof that a focus on great teaching can change children’s lives.
These are the kinds of stories we hope to tell on this blog. We hope it’s useful and interesting. If it’s not, let us know so we can become more interesting or find another outlet for our online energy.
While we are new to blog authorship, we’re longtime blog readers. In reflecting on what we love about our favorite blogs as well as what disappoints us, we made a decision: we’re not going to maintain a comments section. We are all for the free exchange of ideas, but the comments sections of many blogs (including some of the best) are often nasty, personal and unhelpful to the questions being considered. We’re not interested in policing the space constantly and we certainly don’t want to contribute to a dialogue that is too poisonous already.
So we’re opting out. We understand some will disagree with that decision, and we respect it. But it’s the way we’re going. Instead, we’re going to do things the old-fashioned way. If you’ve got a question or comment, email us.
We’ll respond to a selection of emails (positive and negative) on a regular basis. Like the teachers who inspire us, we love a challenge.