Billed as a new initiative to rebuild the teaching profession and elevate teacher voice, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s new RESPECT Project (which stands for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching) seeks to involve teachers and principals in a national conversation about teaching. The work builds on the more than 100 roundtable discussions that the Department of Education’s Teaching Ambassador Fellows have had with fellow teachers across the country and will continue to have throughout the year. During a teacher town hall to launch the RESPECT Project, Duncan outlined his goals for revamping the teaching profession, which include
▪ Improving teacher preparation programs;
▪ Dramatically increasing teacher salaries and tying pay to job performance, skills, and demonstrated leadership ability;
▪ Establishing career ladders that allow for advancement and leadership opportunities without requiring teachers to completely leave the classroom;
▪ Improving professional development and providing teachers more time for meaningful collaboration;
▪ Providing teachers with greater classroom autonomy balanced with more accountability; and
▪ Implementing evaluation systems based on multiple measures, rather than just test scores.
President Obama’s FY13 budget request includes $5 billion to support a new competitive program that would challenge states and districts to work with teachers, unions, colleges, and others to put these ideas into action.
Secretary Duncan recognizes a need to build respect. He should. His own work has been a primary contributor to teacher disrespect for the last 4 years.
He could readily improve the conditions of teaching by remaining silent. Read more about the RESPECT Project (PDF) and sign up for the department’s Teaching Matters newsletter for regular updates on the teaching profession and future information about the RESPECT Project.