As I’ve mentioned before, one of the perks of this job is that I get to meet with teachers from all across the country. I’ve met with many teachers who are supportive of this Administration’s proposals. But I’ve also heard from teachers who question how this Administration’s proposals will actually help them in their day-to-day roles. I want to address these teachers with this post today, because I truly believe our Blueprint for Reform is built to support teachers as they develop and strengthen their craft.
The Department’s proposal for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the major legislation for elementary and secondary education, challenges the nation to embrace education standards that would put America on a path to global leadership. It provides incentives for states to adopt academic standards that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace, and creates accountability systems that measure student growth toward meeting the goal that all children graduate and succeed in college. In our Blueprint for Reform, we propose common-sense strategies to move us in the right direction. Many of you have expressed great relief that the Blueprint will fix the issues that came with No Child Left Behind.
I believe that teachers need be supported. So, the Blueprint proposes a combination of programs to help support states as they implement reforms to better identify, recruit, prepare, develop, retain, reward, and advance effective teachers, principals, and school leadership teams in high-need schools. These programs give local school districts flexibility in determining what practices best meet the needs of their teachers and principals. Our plan treats teachers as professionals by increasing funding, responding to teachers’ voices, sharing responsibility, and improving evaluations. Our plan rewards excellence by rewarding success, focusing on growth, supporting teachers in closing gaps, and improving achievement through flexibility. Finally, our plan gives teachers support by increasing collaboration time, holding preparation programs accountable, funding relevant professional development, and improving principal leadership.
You may want to read our publications “Built for Teachers” – it provides a summary of some of the reasons that teachers support the president’s Blueprint. It is available at:http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/teachers/index.html.
And to all the wonderful teachers out there — thank you for all of the hard work you do for our students. You are truly appreciated by me, and by this Administration.