Today the U.S. Department of Education completed its two-day International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City, N.Y. The event marked the first time education ministers, teachers and union leaders from around the world convened in the United States to discuss best practices in building a world-class teaching force. Foreign delegations from high performing and rapidly improving educational systems, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, The People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, joined the United States in holding discussion sessions focused on Teacher Recruitment and Preparation; Development, Support, and Retention of Teachers; Teacher Evaluation and Compensation; and Teacher Engagement in Education Reform.
The U.S. Department of Education, together with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Education International (EI) and U.S.-based organizations – National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Asia Society and WNET, hosted the summit to help spread effective policies and practices to strengthen and elevate the teaching profession in ways that improve educational outcomes for children in all societies.
“It’s clear that no two countries are the same but that doesn’t mean we don’t face common challenges,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The International Summit on the Teaching Profession is an extraordinary opportunity to broaden our perspective on how to effectively recruit and support teachers. This is an area where we need to move forward with a sense of urgency because building a strong teaching force is critical to having a successful education system.”
A background paper, entitled “Building a High Quality Teaching Force” and composed by the OECD, outlines international analysis, lessons and examples around recruiting, preparing, supporting, developing, evaluating, compensating, and retaining teachers.
“This summit underscores that the quality of teaching is key to improving student outcomes - and ultimately our societies' future,” said Secretary-General of the OECD Angel Gurría. “Teachers must be a central part of any effective solution and provided with the tools to lead change.”
Throughout the summit, common themes emerged around successful practices. Participants voiced shared interest in elevating the professional status of teachers, partnering with teachers in education reform to produce successful outcomes and building collaboration between unions and education leaders to ensure overall progress.
“To achieve a high quality education system, education and union leaders must join together to debate the different roads and draw a consensus around how we achieve our shared goals,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “This summit provides us the opportunity to learn evidence-based strategies from one another to support teachers in ways that strengthen a nation’s entire education system.”
The summit is the first step in building an ongoing international dialogue on improving education. In the following weeks, the Asia Society will lead host organizations in preparing and publishing for the public a summary paper outlining summit discussions and emerging lessons on how to strengthen the teaching profession.