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U.S. Department of Education and Asia Society Release Report from International Summit on the Teaching Profession, Showcase Lessons from Around the World

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The U.S. Department of Education and Asia Society released a report today entitled, “Improving Teacher Quality Around the World: The International Summit on the Teaching Profession,” addressing lessons shared during the two-day event held in New York City in March. The summit marked the first-ever convening of education ministers, teachers, and union leaders from high-performing and rapidly improving countries and regions.

The report, authored by Asia Society’s Senior Advisor for Education Vivien Stewart on behalf of the Summit’s partner organizations, outlines summit discussions and emerging lessons from around the world on how to strengthen the teaching profession. The discussions were framed around four overarching themes: Teacher Recruitment and Preparation; Development, Support, and Retention of Teachers; Teacher Evaluation and Compensation; and Teacher Engagement in Education Reform. Representatives from England, Finland, Hong Kong, Norway, Singapore, The People’s Republic of China and the United States served as discussion leaders during the Summit. Speakers highlighted numerous examples of best practices, shared challenges, and the importance of systematic, coherent reforms for strengthening the teaching profession. Their experiences, together with those of other Summit participants, serve as examples throughout the new report.

“The practices of top-performing countries can help America accelerate student achievement and elevate the teaching profession,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The lessons outlined in the International Summit on the Teaching Profession report reinforce the understanding of education leaders around the world that a high-quality teaching profession is built on common principles and cornerstones in different education systems.”

Delegations that participated in the summit included representatives from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, The People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“The report concludes that achieving consistency in teaching quality has become central to the agenda of every country. To make progress governments and teachers organizations will need to work together, as they did at the summit, to invent a new vision for the teaching profession,” said Vivien Stewart, of the Asia Society.

The U.S. Department of Education organized the summit in coordination 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.

OECD’s Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division Andreas Schleicher helped frame the two-day discussion by preparing a background paper, entitled “Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from around the World.” The OECD report draws on the organization’s international research on principles, practices, and innovations in teaching.

Secretary Duncan discussed the summit and emphasized some of the important themes outlined in the two reports during a speech last week at the National Center on Education and the Economy National Symposium. Plans are underway to convene a second international summit next spring.

To download a copy of “Improving Teacher Quality Around the World: The International Summit on the Teaching Profession,” please visit