We want to recruit the next generation of excellent teachers to lead our nation’s classrooms was the clear refrain for the day when Secretary Arne Duncan joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel, Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools Jerry Weast, local leaders, elected officials and distinguished educators at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, to celebrate the 89th anniversary of American Education Week.
American Education Week—historically observed during the first full week before Thanksgiving—honors teachers and support professionals who have dedicated themselves to the education of young people. Duncan, O’Malley and Van Roekel visited Blair High School on November 18th to serve as the school’s guest Educators for a Day and led two student forums where they discussed the importance of education and urged Blair students to consider the teaching profession as a career.
Students asked the panel a number of insightful questions from the focus on standardized testing to the priorities for the O’Malley and Obama administrations to the support for alternative certification programs like Teach for America. Secretary Duncan focused on the urgent need to recruit America’s best and brightest students to the profession and to help revitalize and transform public education in America. “We’re going to need over a million new teachers in this country,” stated Duncan. Due to current population trends, “we need more teachers of color, and more men.”
In response to the impending teacher shortage, the U.S. Department of Education recently launched the TEACH campaign to encourage Americans, especially minorities, to pursue careers in teaching. To learn more about the TEACH campaign and to view public service announcements (PSAs) by celebrities, Administration officials and local leaders, visit www.teach.gov. The site provides information and resources for students and prospective teachers—including a new interactive “pathway to teaching” tool designed to help individuals chart their course to becoming a teacher. More than 7,000 teacher job listings also are posted on the site.
For more information on American Education Week, visit: www.nea.org/aew.
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