“The U.S. faces serious challenges to building a world-class teaching force in coming years,” Secretary Duncan said last week at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum in Washington D.C. In front of nearly seven hundred celebrated teachers from across the globe, Duncan announced that Microsoft’s Partners in Learning division recently won a competition to take over the TEACH campaign, the Department of Education’s campaign to recruit the next generation of great teachers.
The TEACH campaign was launched last year with the goal of recruiting the next generation of great teachers to join those already in the classroom. Over the past year, there have been dozens of TEACH recruiting events across the country, from Los Angeles to Newark, with celebrities from Spike Lee to Oscar de La Hoya. Interest in the campaign flooded the department from diverse stakeholders within and outside the education sector. Over the past year, TEACH has collaborated with such varying allies as Ebony Magazine, the NFL, the NBA, the NCAA, and received letters of support from the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Congressional Black Caucus, and many others.
In addition, TEACH.gov, the campaigns web portal, managed to do what no other federal website had been able to do successfully. Prior to the development of TEACH.gov, teachers in the U.S. lacked a national, online jobs board, with the ability to look for teaching jobs across multiple states at the same time. The TEACH site technology also created a user-friendly process for people who were contemplating becoming a teacher and enabled them to map out how to navigate from a teacher preparation program to licensure to certification.
TEACH not only launched a major marketing effort designed to recruit teachers, but also to celebrated those already making a difference in the classroom. A series of public service announcements featuring stars from President Obama to JJ Abrams ran online, and on national network and cable stations. Additionally, an aggressive social media campaign garnered thousands of new followers, and significant traffic to the site and jobs board.
It soon became obvious that the potential power of TEACH was great, and that the movement to elevate the teaching profession and recruit the next generation of great teachers could flourish under the management of a private organization. The Department held a competition in April, inviting entities both public and private the opportunity to take on this important task. Duncan remarked at last week’s forum that in taking on this task, Partners in Learning “encapsulates the power of partnerships, the promise of technology, and the benefits of international collaboration to strengthen the teaching profession.”
In the coming months, TEACH.gov will switch to TEACH.org, and will expand the marketing, job, and in-person recruiting efforts to increase teacher recruitment and to ensure that the diversity of our classrooms is reflected in the educators that lead them.
Taryn Benarroch, TEACH Project Director