The Campaign.

Our students are falling behind internationally. In an effort to catch up, we are asking more from our teachers than ever before. Yet we continue to provide our teachers with inadequate preparation, pay, and support.

Many teachers struggle when they begin their careers, and far too many teachers believe that their preparation or alternative certification program did not equip them with the skills they need for today’s classroom.

Once they are in the classroom, teachers report that much of the professional development they receive does not help them improve their teaching practice. Unlike other professionals, teachers have extremely limited time to prepare, plan, and collaborate with their peers, making it difficult for them to grow as professionals.

Teachers are seriously shortchanged when it comes to compensation. The average starting teacher salary is just $36,141, and the average overall salary is $56,383. This means that teacher salaries are 40 percent less than those of other college-educated workers in America.

In order to ensure that our students can compete with their international peers, we have to start responding to teachers’ needs. There is a way to improve the system and achieve better outcomes for our teachers and our students. By establishing the conditions for success, we can create a virtuous cycle, making the teaching profession more attractive to talented new entrants, allowing current teachers the opportunity to succeed, and further elevating the profession.

Our goal is to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of our time.

The Challenge.

Teachers today are being asked to do more than ever before: implement more rigorous standards, teach students to succeed in the 21st century, provide differentiated instruction to a myriad of learners, employ rapidly changing technology, and support the socio-emotional development of students who, increasingly, come from low-income families and speak a language other than English at home. We’re asking teachers to do more and more – but we do not have the systems in place to prepare and support them to succeed.

TeachStrong Theory of Change.

1. High bar for recruitment and selection.

2. Excellent and relevant preparation and support.

3. Schools designed to attract and retain great teachers.

4. Opportunities for growth in leadership responsibilities and pay.

Meet Our Partners

Modernizing and elevating the teaching profession is an issue that unites a diverse and powerful group of organizations, including:

Alliance for Excellent Education: The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.

America Achieves: America Achieves is an organization that helps communities and states leverage policy, practice, and leadership to build high-quality educational systems and prepare each young person for success in careers, college, and citizenship.

American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education: The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners on day one.

American Federation of Teachers: The AFT is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families, and our communities.

ASCD: ASCD is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. The association provides expert and innovative solutions in professional development, capacity building, and educational leadership essential to the way educators learn, teach, and lead.

Bank Street College of Education: Bank Street College of Education is a recognized leader in early childhood education, teacher preparation, and early childhood education research and policy. For one hundred years, Bank Street’s focus has been improving the education of children and their teachers by applying to the education process all available knowledge about learning and growth, and by connecting teaching and learning meaningfully to the outside world.

Battelle for Kids: Battelle for Kids is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to moving education forward for students by supporting the educators who work with them every day. Our mission-driven team of education, communications, technology, and business professionals provides innovative services, solutions, and products that empower teachers, leaders, and school systems to advance educational equity and opportunity for all students.

Center For American Progress: The Center for American Progress (CAP) is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.

Center on the Future of American Education: The Center on the Future of American Education is an independent, solution-oriented think tank at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, committed to bringing fresh energy to the causes of excellence, equity, and efficiency in K-12 and higher education.

Chiefs for Change: Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit network of state and district education Chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s.

Clayton Christensen Institute: The Clayton Christensen Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the world through disruptive innovation. Founded on the theories of Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen, the Institute offers a unique framework for understanding many of society’s most pressing problems, and works to shape and elevate the conversation surrounding these issues through rigorous research and public outreach.

Council of Chief State School Officers: The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonpartisan, and nonprofit membership organization for the nation’s chief state school officers that provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues

Deans for Impact: Deans for Impact is a national organization composed of leaders of colleges of education and other programs who are committed to improving student-learning outcomes by transforming the field of educator preparation and ensuring their preparation programs graduate candidates who are ready to teach and lead in ways that measurably improve student learning.

Democrats for Education Reform: Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political action committee whose mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. DFER operates on all levels of government to educate elected officials and support reform-minded candidates for public office.

Digital Promise: Digital Promise is an independent, bipartisan nonprofit that works at the intersection of education leaders, researchers, and learning technology developers in order to improve the opportunity to learn for all Americans through technology and research.

Education Post: Education Post is a nonpartisan communications organization dedicated to building support for student-focused improvements in public education from preschool to high school graduation.

Education Reform Now: Education Reform Now is a national education reform organization that cultivates and supports leaders at the federal, state, and local levels who champion America’s public schoolchildren. We generate new education policy ideas, provide non-biased analyses, and support individual advocates as well as member organizations.

EducationCounsel: EducationCounsel is a mission-based education consulting firm that combines experience in policy, strategy, law, and advocacy to drive significant improvements in the U.S. education system.

Educators 4 Excellence: Educators 4 Excellence is a teacher-led organization that works to ensure that the voices of classroom teachers are included in the decisions that affect their profession and their students. Educators 4 Excellence envisions an elevated, prestigious teaching profession in which educators are leaders both in and outside of their classrooms to drive positive outcomes for students.

Educators Rising: Educators Rising is a national organization dedicated to cultivating highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path to become accomplished teachers, beginning in high school and extending through college and into the profession.

Generation Schools Network: Generation Schools Network works to transform public education through sustainable, scalable strategies that drive student achievement and teacher effectiveness for all students and teachers.  

Golden Apple: Golden Apple is an Illinois-based non-profit devoted to ennobling the teaching profession and improving the quality of and the diversity in teaching through our unique advanced teacher preparation and professional development programs.

Hope Street Group: Hope Street Group is a network-driven organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for all Americans by leveraging their network of practitioners, entrepreneurs, tech innovators and more to align market forces for social good.

Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education: Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) is an education nonprofit, founded in 2002, whose mission is to improve the practice of continuous learning, collaboration, and change in the education sector. ISKME supports innovative teaching and learning practices across the globe and is well known for its comprehensive digital public library of open education resources, OER Commons, and its impact on teacher professional learning.

Kappa Delta Pi: Kappa Delta Pi is a professional membership association and international honor society in education, which provides programs, services, and resources to educators to support and enhance professional growth—all in an effort to advance quality education for all and to inspire teachers to prepare all learners for future challenges.

Knowledge Alliance: Knowledge Alliance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization comprised of leading education organizations that advocates for the greater use of research-based knowledge in education policy and practice at the federal, state, and local levels.

Leading Educators: Leading Educators is a national nonprofit organization that partners with schools and districts to maximize the leadership development of highly effective teachers.

Learning Forward: Learning Forward is a professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development, helping members leverage the power of professional learning to affect positive and lasting change.

Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education: The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) represents employers committed to excellence, opportunity and innovation in public education to prepare all students to engage successfully in a global economy and society.

National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education: The National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop, leverage, and retain our nation's top-tier educators for improved student and school performance through an intense, advanced program of study that balances instructional mastery and leadership. NAATE is a rigorous program designed to create whole school change through School Leader and Teacher Leader learning and development, and dedicated to closing the achievement gap in our nation's high-needs schools.

National Association for the Education of Young Children: Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children promotes high quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: NBPTS is an independent, nonprofit organization working to strengthen the teaching profession and to improve student learning in America’s schools by establishing high standards for teachers.

National Center for Learning Disabilities: NCLD is an organization committed to improving the lives of children and adults with learning and attention issues by empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools, and advocating for equal rights and opportunities.

National Center for Teacher Residencies: NCTR is a not-for-profit organization that serves a growing national network of high performing residency programs. Founded in 2007, NCTR is the only organization in the country dedicated to developing, launching and scaling the impact of residency programs. NCTR partners with school districts, charter management organizations, institutions of higher education, not-for-profits, and states to develop and support teacher residency programs as quality pipelines of effective and diverse new teachers.

National Center on Time & Learning: NCTL is a Boston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding and improving learning time in schools in order to improve student achievement and enable a well-rounded education.

National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future: NCTAF is a bipartisan organization that engages education policymakers and practitioners to address the entrenched national challenge of recruiting, developing, and retaining great teachers in order to ensure that all students have access to quality teaching in schools organized for success.

National Council on Teacher Quality: NCTQ is a nonpartisan research and policy group working to achieve fundamental changes in the policy and practices of teacher preparation programs, school districts, state governments, and teachers unions.

National Education Association: The NEA is the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the US, representing public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staff and colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers.

National Indian Education Association: The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) equips Native and non-Native educators with the knowledge and tools needed to support Native students in reaching their full potential in the classroom and beyond. NIEA offers professional development opportunities, educational resources, and advocacy support to ensure equitable educational opportunities for Native students.

National Institute for Excellence in Teaching: NIET is a nonprofit organization that provides educator effectiveness solutions in teacher leadership, educator evaluation, professional development, and performance-based compensation.

National Network of State Teachers of the Year: NNSTOY is a professional organization of State Teachers of the Year committed to bringing the voice of teachers into policy making and to advocating for the profession.

National Women’s Law Center: The NWLC is a nonprofit organization that advocates for women’s rights through litigation and policy initiatives.

National Writing Project: National Writing Project (NWP) is a national non-profit organization and an active network of 185 university-based local Writing Project sites providing professional development to educators in all 50 states. NWP is committed to developing teacher-leaders across all disciplines and levels and to focus their knowledge, expertise, and skills on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning in schools and communities.

New America, Education Policy Program: The Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation—a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute--uses original research and policy analysis to solve the nation’s critical education problems, serving as a trusted source of objective analysis and innovative ideas for policymakers, educators, and the public at large.

New Leaders: New Leaders is a national nonprofit that develops transformational leaders – including teacher leaders, aspiring principals, principals, instructional leadership teams, and district supervisors –in high-need communities and designs effective leadership policies and practices for school systems across the country.

New Teacher Center: NTC is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders.

Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence: The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1983 to harness citizen voices to advocate for vastly improved schools across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Today, we focus on informing the public and policymakers, studying priority issues, and engaging business leaders, families, students, and other citizens to demand educational excellence and equity from the earliest years through postsecondary education.

Profound Gentlemen: Profound Gentlemen increases the opportunity for boys of color to positively experience having male educators of a similar demographic, throughout their tenure as students. We accomplish this by competitively recruiting, developing, and retaining effective male educators of color who offer a profound additional impact on boys of color.

Public Education & Business Coalition: Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC) is an education nonprofit that has worked with teachers, schools and districts throughout Colorado, and nationwide for over thirty years. It provides professional development and learning to cultivate highly effective K-12 educators to elevate student growth and achievement.

Public Impact: Public Impact is an education policy and consulting firm whose mission is to dramatically improve learning outcomes for all children in the U.S. Their Opportunity Culture initiative helps districts and schools create highly paid, high impact teacher leader roles that extend the reach of excellent teachers to more students.

Relay Graduate School of Education: Relay is an independent, non-profit institution based in New York City that offers programs in eight states for teachers and school leaders. All of Relay’s programs emphasize the importance of clinical practice and continual improvement supported by feedback.

Southern Education Foundation: Founded in 1867 as the George Peabody Education Fund, the Southern Education Foundation’s mission is to advance equity and excellence in education for all students in the South, particularly low income students and students of color. SEF uses collaboration, advocacy, and research to improve outcomes from early childhood to adulthood.

Stand for Children: Stand for Children is a nonprofit, parent, teacher, and community-based advocacy organization that works to ensure all children graduate from high school prepared for, and with access to, a college education.

Students for Education Reform: Students for Education Reform (SFER) develops college students into grassroots organizers who fight for educational justice in their communities. Our experiences and stories of overcoming educational inequality are undeniable and validate the demand for transformative change in our K-12 system. We fight for high academic standards, access to quality teachers and the right for families to choose the best school for their child, especially in communities that have historically been left behind.

Teach For America: Teach For America’s mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation's most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.

Teach Plus: Teach Plus is a network of more than 20,000 solutions-oriented teachers that take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success.

Teacher Salary Project: The Teacher Salary Project is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness around the impact of our national policy of underpaying and under-valuing educators. In an effort to do this, the Teacher Salary Project has increased public awareness, pushed to influence policy, provided thought leadership, and shared stories and research, including The New York Times bestselling Teachers Have it Easy; the Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America's Teachers and the nationally acclaimed feature length film, American Teacher.

Teaching Matters: Teaching Matters is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, one of the most critical factors in student success. Our services transform how educators work together at urban public schools, helping the most effective teachers develop the skills they need to lead their peers and drive school-wide improvement.

TeachNY: TeachNY is a movement built on a foundation of unprecedented partnership between The State University of New York and the New York State Education Department to uplift the teaching profession and ensure we have the excellent educators that New York State needs and our students deserve.

TESOL International Association: TESOL International Association is a global organization of teachers, researchers, administrators, and other experts dedicated to advancing excellence in English Language Teaching to Speakers of Other Languages worldwide.

Third Way: Third Way is a centrist public policy think tank that offers fresh thinking and modern solutions to the most challenging problems in the U.S.

TNTP: TNTP is a national non-profit working at every level of the public school system to help ensure all students have access to excellent instruction and help our partners meet their goals for students, with a focus in three areas: rigorous academics, talented people, and supportive environments.

Urban Teachers: Urban Teachers is a non-profit teacher preparation program that is training effective teachers that stay in teaching. Teachers are trained through a year long residency and a clinical master's degree.  Participants also receive three years of one-on-one coaching and job placement in high needs schools in Dallas*, Baltimore and DC (and some additional cities). *pending State approval

VIVA Project: The VIVA Project is an innovative nonprofit organization that provides a platform, The VIVA Idea Exchange™, a groundbreaking approach to mine insights from teachers across the country, inspire their professional leadership and contribute to education leaders’ work making higher impact education policy.  

Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation: The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops leaders and institutions to meet the nation's critical challenges.  

Meet Our Teacher Partners

Alex Fuentes: Alex Fuentes is a 9th grade Biology/ELL teacher at the International Academy within TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia and previously taught in Washington, DC. She is also a Teacher-In-Residence with Teach Plus where she facilitates alumni engagement in federal policy. She has served on several panels and met with federal policymakers to advocate for student-centered policy revisions. She is a Senior Fellow with the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation where she has collaborated with STEM teachers in a professional learning network and has led training on teacher advocacy through op-ed writing.

Christina Ross: Christina Ross currently works at City Neighbors High School in Baltimore, Maryland, a project-based, arts integrated school where she has created a curriculum for U.S. Government and Economics, started a competitive debate team at City Neighbors, and serves as an advisor to a 10th grade advisory group.  Ms. Ross has nearly eight years of teaching experience in AP, ELL, general education, and special education inclusion classes in Virginia and Maryland. Ms. Ross was honored with the Osbourn Park High School New Teacher of the Year Award in 2008, the Teacher of the Year Award in 2010, and a Prince William County Achievement Award in 2011. In 2013, she was named Super Teacher of Virginia by the Virginia Lottery. As a TeachPlus Teacher-In-Residence, she conducts research and policy analysis on federal policies related to education and reform—a role that allows her to connect back to her time as a Congressional staffer for Senator Paul Wellstone and Senator Tammy Baldwin when she represented the 2nd District of Wisconsin. Christina and Alex are sharing this role.

Jennifer Corroy Porras: Jennifer Corroy Porras is a 12th grade ELA teacher at IDEA Donna College Preparatory in Donna, Texas. She received her National Board Certification in Adolescence and Young Adulthood and ELA, as well as a TNTP Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice, in 2013. She is also a Teach For America alumna.

Jody Zepp: Jody Zepp is the Instructional Team Leader for the Social Studies department at Long Reach High School in Columbia, Maryland. Previously, she served as the Lead Teacher of the Academy of Government, Law & Public Administration at Hammond High School in Columbia, Maryland, and has 14 years of teaching experience. She is a member of the NEA as well as NNSTOY. In 2015, she was named the Maryland State Teacher of the Year and was also the 2014-2015 Washington Post Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher for Howard County, Md.  Jody is also a 2-time recipient of the NSHSS Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award, and is the 2015 NSHSS Claes Nobel Educator of the Year.

Kayleigh White: Kayleigh White is a special education social studies teacher of 9th grade students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders at Manhattan High School in New York City. Kayleigh is not only her local UFT chapter leader, she also works closely with Educators 4 Excellence. As a former attorney, she “can speak about having been a part of a prestigious profession and why teaching is not as highly esteemed by the general public as it could and should be.”

Shakera Oliver: Shakera Oliver is an intermediate teacher and contracted curriculum writer at the Brightwood Education Campus in Washington, D.C. and a former sixth grade math and science teacher. Shakera is also a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant for teaching writing across the K-12 curriculum and an AFT/WTU Teacher Leader with District of Columbia Public Schools. Her AFT research topic focuses on the impact of cultural relevancy in teaching diverse student populations.