U.S. Department of Education Launches RESPECT Program to Reform Teaching

As reported at www.ed.gov, the Obama Administration’s 2013 proposed budget includes a new $5 billion competitive program to challenge states and districts to work with teachers, unions, colleges of education and other stakeholders to comprehensively reform the field of teaching. The proposal touches on every phase of teaching from training and tenure to compensation and career opportunities. The Department of Education named the program RESPECT, an acronym for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching.

Details of the program will be developed through budget negotiations with Congress and the competition process itself, but the proposal considers a broad range of reforms:

  • Reforming teacher colleges and making them more selective.
  • Creating new career ladders for teachers.
  • Linking earnings more closely to performance rather than simply longevity or credentials.
  • Compensating teachers for working in challenging learning environments.
  • Making teacher salaries more competitive with other professions.
  • Improving professional development and providing time for collaboration.
  • Providing teachers with greater autonomy in exchange for greater accountability.
  • Building evaluation systems based on multiple measures, not just test scores.
  • Reforming tenure to raise the bar, protect good teachers, and promote accountability.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said “our goal is to work with teachers and principals in rebuilding their profession and to elevate the teacher voice in federal, state and local education policy. Our larger goal is to make teaching not only America’s most important profession, but also America’s most respected profession.”

“This effort will require the entire educational sector—states, districts, unions, principals, schools of education—to change, and teachers have to lead the change,” Duncan said.

“We need to change society’s views of teaching—from the factory model of yesterday to the professional model of tomorrow—where teachers are revered as thinkers, leaders and nation-builders. No other profession carries a greater burden for securing our economic future. No other profession holds out more promise of opportunity to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. And no other profession deserves more respect,” he said.

 Click Here for the official press release

Click Here for the Department of Education’s Blog on RESPECT 

Click Here for the RESPECT Program Proposal on PDF

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