Section I—Introduction

The Challenge: In order to prepare our young people to be engaged citizens, to compete in the global job market, and to keep up with both persistent and emerging challenges facing our country, the United States must ensure that teaching is a highly respected and supported profession, that accomplished, effective teachers guide students' learning in every classroom, and that effective principals lead every school.

Despite the fact that teaching is intellectually demanding, rigorous, and complex work, too often American educators are not treated like professionals. They receive little classroom experience before certification, and once in the profession, they are not supported, compensated or promoted based on their talents and accomplishments. Too often teachers and principals operate at schools with a factory culture, where inflexible work rules discourage innovation and restrict teachers' opportunities to work together as a team and to take on leadership roles. As a result, the field of education is not highly regarded – many of America's brightest young college graduates never consider entering the field,i and others leave prematurely, while too many of our own students are left without the education they need to thrive in the 21st century.

The Vision: It is time for a sweeping transformation of the profession. We must develop innovations in the way we recruit, prepare, credential, support, advance, and compensate teachers and principals. As in other high-performing countries, our schools of education must be both more selective and more rigorous. To attract top students into the profession, and to keep talented teachers from leaving, we must dramatically increase potential earnings for teachers. We must create career and leadership opportunities that enable teachers to grow their roles and responsibilities without leaving the classroom, and we must intentionally develop teachers who are gifted managers into school leaders and principals. Rather than linking teacher compensation solely to years of service or professional credentials, teachers' pay should reflect the quality of their work and the scope of their professional responsibility. To ensure that the students who need the best teachers and principals get them, salaries should also reflect taking on the additional challenges of working in high-need schools (urban and rural) or in hard-to-staff subjects, and care should be given to ensure that teachers in these schools are well supported by principals in a positive school culture that values their expertise.

To transform the profession, we envision a school model and culture built on shared responsibility and on-going collaboration, rather than a top-down authoritarian style. Our call for historic improvements in the professional opportunities and compensation of teachers and principals is matched by an equally dramatic effort to change how teaching is organized and supported. We see schools staffed with effective principals who are fully engaged in developing and supporting teachers, who involve teachers in leadership decisions, and who provide teachers with authentic, job-embedded professional learning. Likewise, we see families working in partnership with schools, where parents are welcome by the school and where they respect the efforts of educators to teach their children. Finally, we see schools made stronger by embracing community resources; and we envision communities that become more robust as they are anchored around highly effective schools.

Teachers and school leaders work every day with our nation's children – an intrinsically rewarding and joyful job. We need to redesign the profession and the working conditions so we unleash the inherent joy in teaching and learning, enable innovation in our schools and classrooms, and deliver the outcomes that our children deserve and our country's future demands. Moving towards this vision will require tough choices and a willingness to embrace change, but the urgency and the opportunity for real and meaningful progress have never been greater.

Our Plan/the RESPECT Project. To support this vision, the U.S. Department of Education has begun working with educators–teachers, school and district leaders, teachers' associations and unions, and state and national education organizations–to spark a national conversation about transforming teaching for the 21st century. We call it the RESPECT Project. RESPECT stands for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching. Educational Success recognizes our commitment to improving student outcomes. Professional Excellence means that we will promote continuously sharpen our practice, and that we will recognize, reward, and learn from great teachers and principals. Collaborative Teaching means that we will concentrate on shared responsibility and decision-making. Successful collaboration means creating schools where principals and teachers work and learn together in communities of practice, hold each other accountable, and lift each other to new levels of skill and competence.

There is no one path to success. Different districts, schools, principals, and teachers will take different pathways to achieving the vision. Our goal is for a national conversation about the RESPECT Project to serve as a catalyst for remaking education on a grand scale. To do so, we must lift up the accomplished teachers in our classrooms and bring in a new generation of well-prepared, bright young men and women. Together these teachers will make teaching a valued and respected profession on par with medicine, law, and engineering. We must staff our schools with strong principals who nurture and develop great teaching. And we must take a whole-system approach to support these teachers and principals in our schools. By transforming the teaching profession, this country's most important work will become our most valued work.


i. McKinsey Top Talent

Comments

When you all say teachers should be paid based on their performance, do you mean according to standardized tests?

I believe in this concept of teaching for my grand children. I want the best education for todays children as my children received. Our teachers need to be compensated for their teaching and their patience. They have to do alot more than teach the children, it goes beyond that in our world today. We all need to stand behind the teachers that educate our children. I vote for our teachers to have a pay raise. Thank you to all that teach our children and grand children. Much appreciated!

I think it is wonderful that the RESPECT Project is rethinking our country's approach to teaching as a profession. I believe that in order for new coming teachers and teachers in need of revamping to discover success, we must identify who in the field are teacher experts so that standards are created by people who actually work in the profession. Creating strong support structures as well as a network of people and resources for teachers to plug into and collaborate in is essential for success. The tenure system must also b reconsidered. There was a teacher of the year in California who has won several awards and recognition for her skills as a teacher who was laid off because she was not as tenured as some of the other teachers. This is a travesty, and in order to keep good teachers in school we must treat those who are the most deserving of respect accordingly.

Many of the changes outlined here are strongly needed. I would like to see more emphasis based on job-embedded professional development for teachers at all stages of development. There should be a recommended list of high-quality, research-based professional development experiences and programs. This would include strong, comprehensive new teacher induction/mentoring programs, ongoing training for administrators and teachers on implementing effective professional learning communities, cognitive coaching, and lesson study. They also need to be encouraged and supported in pursuing National Board Certification.

There needs to be dedicated time during the work day for these things to be implemented. If everything is relegated to after school session, the quality of the experiences will be greatly limited.

Transforming education requires that we apply a consistent heart-felt dose of the 3Rs. Schools, families and communities must RESPECT- RESPOND and RECRUIT each other in order to transform education. In doing so, the teaching profession will inevitably take its rightful professional place and operate in its perspective role here in our country. Maria Montessori stated many years ago, that the role of education of the child is the key to the reform of society.
SCHOOLS: To transform education, leaders of schools must begin by committing their work to the call of transforming for a better world. A non-wavering school leader who gently shepherds a school staff to embrace a clearly defined vision; one of respectful response to teachers, families & communities gets overall results. Recruit teachers and allow them to “teach.” Section 1 of the RESPECT project states, that there is no one path to success. Different districts, schools, principals, and teachers will take different pathways to achieving the vision. Each entity listed here must deliberately apply the 3Rs as they cultivate a climate for success. It is important to realize to a great degree that the cognitive process is more important than the product. Well trained teachers are well equipped to create an atmosphere that surrounds this concept and yields results when supported and fueled by the 3Rs.

FAMILIES: Allow families to employ who they are as part of the school learning community. Socioeconomics is not a factor in this part. That’s right, it is not a factor in this part. We must simply allow them to be who they are; each individual family. Respect all families, respond to them and recruit families in order to best meet their children’s needs. It is then, that schools and non-wavering teachers begin by teaching them how to treat us. Elijah Cummings, in a recent commencement address to a Baltimore City school stated that we have to teach people how to treat us. Teachers who cultivate a climate of trust and respect that says “let’s welcome each other”, become empowered to teach how to be treated.

COMMUNITIES: In order to experience the “sweeping transformation” noted in the RESPECT project’s vision, the neighborhood must be seen as a classroom. While the spheres of school, families and communities must overlap---the neighborhood must be seen as a classroom. Leaders of communities who respect and respond to the project of teaching and learning get results. Working together to help children to increase their self-confidence and self-discipline is a task requiring collective responsibility. Communities must respect the operation of the school and the children we all serve. In a reciprocal fashion, our schools, families and communities (local & national) need only apply the 3Rs to help students to reach their full potential both academically and socially. Educators, in a respectful way that is fueled by developing trust, must be allowed to teach people how to treat us as we do our jobs of helping children to reach their full academic potential. In cultivating such relationships, it is important for all entities to realize that all education is “special education.”
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Respect is, indeed, the key in education. It is the key to an effective classroom, an effective school and an effective school district. So, I very much appreciate seeing it used in naming a project aimed at improving teaching in America. That said, the project is off to a pretty poor start in this introduction.

It is obvious that the writers have little respect for the profession and professionals who work within our current system. To call for “remaking education on a grand scale” and “sweeping transformation” is not especially respectful to the work that is being done right now. And within this hyperbole there lurks the cause of the very problems you seek to overcome.

It is easy to get people to agree that everything is terrible, it is also dead wrong. Everything is not terrible. Many children continue to get a good education in America. Many teachers continue to grow in skillful practice providing high-quality learning opportunities on a daily basis. Many schools of education work hard to provide their pre-service teaching candidates with the information and practice that will allow them to enter the profession equipped to begin their climb up the learning ladder of teaching.

It is important to note this because then we can calm down, take a breath and look at why so many succeed. Yes, that's what I said--let's study what works! The politicians who see themselves as coming to the rescue of a failing education system make the same mistakes over and over again. They focus on areas of failure and become experts in failure. If you are going to meddle with the teaching profession, the best way to proceed is to focus on the psychology of the successful teachers. What brought them to the profession, what made them remain in it, why have they continued to work in the classroom?

In the first paragraph of “The Vision” section of this introduction, you go dramatically and dangerously wrong. ”To attract top students into the profession, and to keep talented teachers from leaving, we must dramatically increase potential earnings for teachers.” Like everyone else, teachers hope to make a comfortable living, to be able to support their families and enjoy what life has to offer. We should certainly work to make sure this is possible in all school districts. But high achieving university students do not choose this profession for the money. They are far more interested in the fulfillment that comes from helping young people succeed. The vast majority of excellent teachers would willingly give up any kind of “merit” bonus for good teaching conditions, willing students, high-quality professional development, resonable class sizes, time for planning and grading, adequate services for needy students, dynamic and supportive leadership and opportunities to have their strongest work recognized. Let’s negotiate a reasonable salary and then focus on these things .

The most egregious misunderstanding here is contained in the idea that “salaries should also reflect taking on the additional challenges of working in high-need schools.” It suggests that some kind of battle-pay will attract or motivate the teachers in these schools to accomplish things they refuse to do for the pay they are given. It also suggests that the teachers who walk into these schools day after day for the same pay as those who walk into high-resourced schools are somehow inferior and need “good teachers” to come in and show them what they should be doing. This is wrong-headed in the extreme. Spend any real time in most of these schools and you will quickly learn how high quality much of the teaching is. These schools are often liberally salted with teachers who care deeply, adjust constantly, and give all they can to pull as many students through as possible. What they want, what they need from you is a willingness to listen to them when they suggest where improvements need to be made, but that seems to be the one thing our policy makers are least willing to give.

We don't need "tough choices"--teachers make them all the time. We don't need "willingness to embrace change"--teachers have always tried to change for the better. These phrases are, too often, code for having teachers abandon what we know works best

What we need from our national, state and local political leadership, is a commitment to:
attack the ills of poverty and injustice,
provide adequate funds to allow all students to compete on somewhat equal footing,
encourage on-going professional development,
listen to the voices of teachers as well as parents, students and the community.

If you do the last of these alone, it will bring a new respect to the profession and constitute a "sweeping transformation."

I understand your concerns with the language the authors of this website have chosen to use in regards to the changes they would like to see made in the educational system. However, I think it should not be viewed as an attack on good teachers. If you look at the research on education reform by Mark Tucker, it is made clear that the reform he calls for is not an attack on our current teachers, it is a call to make teaching conditions better for both our students and teachers. It is a call for our country to stand behind teachers and support them rather than accusing them of failure. It is a call for schools of education to better prepare new teachers and for school districts to better support new and veteran teachers.

The model RESPECT is based from is one that works. They are focusing what is working in other countries, the top performing countries in the world and are trying to figure out what we can do to better ourselves and become a top performing country.

In terms of teacher compensation, at first glance it does appear that the author is trying to make it seem as though teachers are money hungry, when in fact I believe that they are simply stating that teachers should be compensated along the same lines as other professionals in this country. You are absolutely correct in saying that teachers did not join this profession for the money they would make. As a teacher I've never had notions of making a large amount of money and living in a grand fashion. That being said, I find it incredibly discouraging that working in a private, urban, low-income school means that it is okay for for a teacher to make a salary of around $25,000. It is not okay. I think that our profession deserves more than that. I think that we deserve more respect than that. Will I leave my teaching career because I feel that teachers aren't compensating teachers adequately? Will I criticize someone that thinks that teachers should be greater compensated for what I do? Will I criticize someone that sees teaching as a professional careeer and thinks that I should be compensated as such? Absolutely not.

Also, in terms of your final thoughts regarding this initiative. I agree. These are things that need to be addressed and remedied. Part of Tucker's research says that all students should be allowed equal funds for education. Meaning the kids in the urban schools will have the same amount of resources as the kids in the suburban schools. I like to believe this initiative is a step in the right direction. It is not perfect, it will difficult to implement but as long as there is such inequity in schools something has to be done.

Although I don't think it is the intent of the authors, I agree with Joe that the tone of this document is often condescending. I hope someone will take his concerns seriously as this tone will not further "respect" towards teachers and is counterproductive to this very important goal.

Your comment touched my passion for teaching and learning. You said everything I would say. Teachers are being used as one of the political pones for the rich who think it only takes $ and control to help teachers teach and students learn. Go back to your massions and give us back our classrooms. You do not know what you are doing. We have the knowledge, commentment and will to do our job everyday.

People have made some great comments on the document already. The thing that really stands out to me is that the document seems to start by talking about pay. Outline that in a separate document or something. Teachers aren't all about the pay. To put it before discussions on student learning doesn't speak well to the vision. I will second someone's comment about everyone receiving compensation in the school and everyone held accountable. We are part of the TIF grant and only teachers who administer a test are part of the TIF grant and eligible to receive an $8000 bonus. How disheartening for elective teachers and support staff!

If the goal is to increase awareness and gain respect for teachers by the general society(non educators), we have to dramatically increase the standards and requisites of achieving teaching credentials.

When I was studying for exams to be certified, my friends, who are not in the education field, told me those tests were jokes, and that anybody can be considered eligible for certification. They don't doubt that there are highly respectable teachers and that the workload is tremendous, but because the requirements are so low, they remain doubtful of every teacher.

Doctors are usually, automatically deemed respectable and intelligent because people are aware of the rigorous workload and challenges a md candidate must endure and overcome to receive a license.

Therefore, the requriements to acquire teaching credentials should be completely flipped on its head. Not only should the tests be MUCH more difficult, but I also believe a minimum GPA should be required to take the tests. Content knowledge tests are, in my opinion, easier than AP exams. This is not a good sign. I believe a candidate should extensively prove his/her deep content knowledge before even considering to enter the education field.

Teachers already know the great amount of intelligence, passion and determination that is needed in the profession. But others, who will never teach a classroom, have no idea. But we can't blame them for thinking that way if the message we are sending is "if you passed the AP, you can easily pass the content knowledge test."

I, whole heartily, agree! I find it amusing that anyone with a bachelor's degree may challenge the Praxis II and become a "certified" teacher, when most of us studied for years to prepare. When our English department assessed the practice state subject area test for our sophomore class, we each commented that it was far more difficult than anything we'd encountered on any of our professional exams.
It will take public service announcements, recruitment, and, unfortunately, the acknowledgement from those who are recognized and respected by the public and media to change the way the teaching profession is viewed.
When I am challenged for choosing my career, I remind the person that no doctor, lawyer, ballplayer, actor, etc. could have succeeded without first having amazing teachers. I remind him/her that without us, those very people wouldn't have the knowledge to even sign their names. In my 23 years in education, I find this usually evokes a renewed respect from the challenger.
I am encouraged, however, by several new college programs that are having students enter the classroom to observe immediately upon beginning their college careers. The programs continue to place students in classroom settings throughout the degree program. Hopefully this will increase the number of students who realize that our career choice is one in need of strong support and acknowledgement.
Two of my children are entering the teaching profession, and they are encouraged that they will see a change in education and the way we as educators are perceived.

I believe we should adopt a tiered education like the rest of Europe and parts of Asia. These countries are thriving because a tiered education system is so much better at reducing class sizes, allowing flexibility with work hours for educators, reducing education expenditure which leaves more money for districts to give their schools the supplies they need, and most importantly, providing a better education for all students.

Please research how a tiered education system, and maybe even adopting it rather then America's current Universal Education System, which is in disrepair. This will allow teachers to be much happier with their jobs and for students to be more successful in the future.

Thank you

I will have more to say after grading is finished for the year but would like to add a quick comment. As teachers attempting to raise our status, we need to be very sure there are no grammatical errors or misspellings in this document. This particular sentence is one I noticed:
"Professional Excellence means that we will promote continuously sharpen our practice, and that we will recognize, reward, and learn from great teachers and principals."

Thank you for your work!

Every aspect of teaching is not always joyful. Some parts of teaching are repetative and even boring. If you expect children to learn how to write you must correct their papers. If you expect them to read they must learn their letters.

Similarly, every aspect of any profession is not joyful or interesting or even fun. Do CPA's enjoy looking at one tax return after another during tax time. I suspect not. I think there is a conflict between making teaching always exciting and actually helping studtents. Some of what teachers must do just as some of what lawyers, accountants, engineer, ministers, or any other professional must do is mundane, and unexciting.

Perhaps we would serve the profession, prospective teachers and students better by laying out those necessary unfun things. It is possible that fewer teachers would leave if they knew what they were walking into.

Having said all of that. yes. pay is an issue. Advancement is an issue. Job satisfaction is an issue.

But meeting the responsibilities of any job is not always fun. We shouldn't create the myth that teaching is always fun or that it should be always fun.

I really enjoyed reading your comment! I am just finishing my student teaching and I think as part of teacher preparation we should be made aware of the unfun and necessary aspects of teaching. As you said, any profession has these aspects and I think it is important that teachers address them as well.

Why is the federal government getting further involved in state concerns?

Before this initiative goes into effect - charters and the business organizations behind them will have stolen all public funds and property dedicated to public education, kicked out the students who need the most help and will be laughing all the way to the bank. We need a plan that removes business from the picture entirely and allows academics, educators and families with students involved in the education system to make decisions.

Charters do not take moderate to severely disabled students and to give public funds to schools that purposefully discriminated against students with disabilities, English Language Learners and Foster Youth. Charters create discriminatory "enrollment" forms that are not allowed, nor required in regular public schools. Charters are supposed to follow federal laws but are using discriminatory practices and many families do not know their rights (and the charter operators make sure it stays that way). Charter schools are a business, nothing more. It's a scam to suck public funds into corporate pockets and our children are stuck in the middle, being used as pawns. I've collected data for years showing the lack of enrollment of moderate/severely disabled and the lack of more costly services most regular public schools provide as per IEPs to help these students. I recently discovered that Green Dot schools created an alternative Special Education Guidebook that advises administrators to remove the more severely disabled "back into LAUSD" without a proper IEP team decision. Written policy that violates IDEA - the federal law regarding Special Education services. How long has this gone on and how many other charters in other states are doing the same without proper oversight or guidance? It's disgusting. If charters take public funds, they should take ALL children and we know they do not. They should have their charters revoked if abusing public funds, but no one does a thing. There should be a class-action lawsuit regarding the violation of the civil rights of those students they refuse. No one cares in Washington, because they're in the pockets of all those businessmen. Who really cares about the children?

We've sent Special Education Community Advisory Committee reps to DC to speak about RTTT funds and the lack of academic/educator input. The hearing members conversed among themselves and ignored our representative - a retired special education teacher and administrator with specific suggestions that no one cared to listen to. It's all blah, blah, blah and appearance of compliance. Get the parent signatures on the compliance paperwork to look good, but there is never real, meaningful change or parent involvement, especially when it comes to students with disabilities. We don't have expensive lobbyists - we're busy taking care of our children.

Here in Los Angeles, charters have infiltrated LAUSD administration with Supt. Deasy's acceptance of charter foundation funds to pay salaries for positions created and people chosen by those foundations. The fox is in the hen house. A former charter organization representative was hired to be in charge of LAUSD's Parent Community Services Branch and has dismantled the Title I committee of committees that used to meet regularly and share information/training/ideas. The district has "stolen" the Title I, Parent Training funding and placed it in the general fun - violating legal requirements to utilize that set-aside percentage specifically for parent training. There is no longer easy online access to manuals and guides that showed how families could be involved at school sites and create meaningful, productive school site councils. The district, with the help of charter backers, is destroying real parent involvement to replace it with the astro-turf, paid by Charter orgs "Parent Revolution" people who speak the party line. This party line does not include those students who are disabled, English Language Learners or Foster Youth.

Charter foundation backers would love to see the destruction of our regular public schools so they can be taken over by big business interests who will only teach those they choose to. Links here to the new world order:
http://thebroadreport.blogspot.com/p/parent-guide.html and this: http://dailycensored.com/2009/10/05/say-you-want-a-revolution-parents-re...
and this: http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/11/parent-trigger-charlatan-ben-austi...
and this: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/jeb-bush-digitial-learning-publi...
and this: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_42/b4005059.htm.
http://www.k12newsnetwork.com/2012/04/lausd-superintendent-of-schools-jo...

It's never been about the children - it's business, plain and simple. Our children are dollar signs and these guys are bilking the public, soaking public education funds into their private business pockets. We're selling our children's future to the highest bidder, making districts "race" and "compete" for "grants" instead of having our legislators fully and properly fund education as it should be.

Get business out of education because they've never really cared about ALL children.

I hope that those responsible for the policy decisions related to the RESPECT initiative are looking to the current literature on the connection between teacher collaboration and professionalism. Three books published within this past year come to mind, "Reclaiming Our Teaching Profession: The Power of Educators Learning in Community," "Teaching 2030: What We Must Do for Our Students and Our Public Schools Now and in the Future," and "Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School." All are worth the read and provide a balanced perspective on transforming the teaching profession.

I'm elated to hear that there needs to be a sweeping transformation after 12 years of NCLB. It is imperative that you allow students to also have a voice at the table and not just the students that have blossomed in the schools where they have quality teacing but those students that have been left behind due to teaching to the test. The word rigor is used frequently and rigorus teaching does not equate to high achieving learners especially for those who have missed the foundational basics before being challenged with rigorus classes. When teaching various cultures are teacher aware how cultures relate and learn is very important. Because one teacher may think a student is being aggressive but culture comes into play sometimes and they can be very expressive. Also while you are focusing on math and science it is important to recognize that not every student will choose paths where math and science are critical for their learning, the arts are just as important. Just like there is more then one path to success there is also more then one way to teach a student. What is the strategy to restore the thousands of students and teachers that have already been left behind by failing the students forward? The root educo is the root word to educate and it means to draw out that which is within. In my school districts we have classes labeled College prep, Honors, Gifted (, A.P. Advance Placement), and ( I.B.- International Baccalareat) Every child should be prepped for college if that is their chosen path. Most certainly every child is gifted and it is a matter of knowing how to draw those gifts out. A child should be honored if they have done their best.then advance them according to where they are at. If they want to become International Baccalareats and are at that level then allow them to spread their wings and fl. We have done so many of our kids an injustice because they did not measure up to the one size fits all standard instead of empbracing them where they are at and building upward to get to the so called standard

Until students are equal partners in their own education, the whole conversation is pointless.

Good to know that Im on the same page with those that fill the students must have a voice in this conversation. I work with kids from K-12 at the Boys & Girls Club and I am always asking them how they are doing in school and who their favortie teachers are and why. Kids want to learn but they must be engaged and allowed to think. Over the years they have been taught how to memorize data to pass a test while learning nothing that can really equate to real life in most cases.

How on earth is it respectful to start a national conversation on education and leave out the MOST IMPORTANT voices when it comes to education transformation? We MUST STOP LEAVING OUT THE STUDENTS. Unless you update your vision to include students in this conversation, you won't have respect from those of us who know their voices matter. If adults took the time to respect young people enough to listen to what they had to say, they'd LEARN a LOT!

I second your motion!

Comment to Introduction:
I feel the RESPECT program is clearly missing a few elements that have a huge impact on its potential success:
1) The poverty level of students.
2) Parent engagement
3) Emotional intelligence

Throughout my 12 years of being an active parent and 20+ years as a Human Resource Professional, I have seen statistics of anywhere from 40 to 60% impact of a teacher's ability to teach children based on a student's poverty level. This is a huge impact on the potential success of the RESPECT program and if it is not addressed, RESPECT will be a failure. I suggest that a whole section be added to the program concerning poverty of student population and the IDOE's goals in addressing this issue with other governmental agencies. For example, what programs can IDOE work on with the Food & Drug Administration to provide more healthier lunch programs. The current lunch programs are often filled with a high level of carbohydrates. Children of poverty need more protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, not carbohydrates. One other suggestion is what programs can IDOE collaborate on to provide affordable Health care for the working poor. A family of four, with both parents earning minimum wage, cannot afford $700-900 a month insurance premiums and co-pays to insure their family through an employer's health insurance program.

While NCLB had a good start on a program for parent engagement, there were no consequences for not following it. I suggest a whole section be added to the important aspect of parent engagement. Many effective teachers understand the need for parent engagement; however, there has been no accountability or defined roles when it comes to teacher's responsibility around this subject. For example, for Elementary aged teachers, a requirement of a list of and the acutally weekly homework assignments stapled together to be sent home via hard copy paper AND sent via email would give opportunity to engage parents. This would somewhat curtail students stating they 'lost' their homework assignments, understanding not all parents have access to email at home. Another example is to provide all teachers with a cell phone with phone and texting capabilities. This would give an avenue of immediate communication between parents and teachers. IDOE could collaborate with the FCC in requiring all Internet Service Providers to offer deep discounts to their service area school aged children to ensure that parents, and children, have access to the Internet and email for effective communication with teachers and homework help. Part of a teacher's performance evaluation should include parent surveys or focus groups based on the key areas of a Parent Engagement section.

As a Human Resource professional and a parent who has many school volunteer hours logged, the one thing that I have found missing in many programs that has a huge impact on the sucess of students later in their work life is an incorporation of Emotional Intelligence within the schools. I feel that while many assume this is a parent's role, teacher's have control of children most of their waking day during the school year and need to be trained in this area. In addition, school age children need to feel secure in talking about their feelings in order to practice effectively dealing with feelings and school staff need to be available for coaching students in this area. Therefore, I suggestt that a section be added on Emotional Intelligence, teachers required to be trained in this area and Emotional Intelligence Support Staff hired for all schools.

The Good Force be with you!

The challenge, the vision and the plan of the RESPECT project are excellent and must be implemented as soon as possible.

Live forever and prosper!

I think the #1 thing we need to do to support teachers and properly prepare them to help students is an honest and thorough review of the effectiveness of the National Reading Panel's recommendations for early reading instruction.

When students cannot easily access information in its printed form (when they cannot read with comprehension), teachers are unfairly set up for failure. This is exactly what is happening by the time students reach Grades 4 and 5, worsening as students progress to higher grades (see 2011 SAT results for high school seniors--there is a reason they have declined to one of the lowest points ever). The Reading First Impact Study Final Report documents that six years of explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding, word identification fluency, and comprehension for children in Grades K-3 did not work to produce improvement in the core skill that makes reading useful: comprehension. There was NO measurable improvement; none.

The National Reading Panel's recommendations represented an untested THEORY of what would work to prevent reading difficulties from forming in young children. The recommendations were very similar to the conclusions offered by the Committee for the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Both groups called for explicit, systematic instruction in skills associated with word-by-word reading. Joann Yatvin, the only front-line educator serving on the National Reading Panel, wrote the Minority View circulated to Congress and, in it, she warned that "bad things" would happen if the recommendations were translated as the science of reading and imposed upon schools. This front-educator was correct -- and, 12 years later, reading experts influencing the field in general are not yet fully owning the fact that explicit skill instruction has not made things any better. They seek to find what is "missing" from the mix, rather than own the idea that reading CANNOT be broken into pieces and explicitly taught.

This is unfair to teachers at every level. It's unfair to K-3 elementary teachers who believe that, if they just try a little harder, they can make explicit instruction work for all of their students. It's unfair to Grade 4-12 teachers, who are left trying to figure out how to help 2/3rds of all students, who are not reading sufficiently to support learning. They are left to figure out how to inspire kids to embrace reading when the students have never been properly equipped with reading strategies that produce comprehension as an immediate by-product of engaging with text. It's unfair to every single student and parent who trusts schools to know how to teach reading in a manner that allows students to function optimally in the classroom.

Educators, do you agree with this: Low reading achievement is the #1 reason that teachers and students are having to work so hard to produce little to no improvement in academic outcomes. Think about it: If students can't accurately interpret test questions in all disciplines, it is highly unlikely that students will perform better on standardized tests.

The state of reading instruction in America isn't fair to anyone. Yet, no one is looking at radically different thinking related to comprehension, supported by scientific studies reviewed and rated highly by the National Center on Response to Intervention. LOOK at what the National Center has found IS working for middle and high school students in the critical area of comprehension. Look deeper than the studies themselves at the methodology and see how the methods are markedly different from the National Reading Panel's recommendations for early reading instruction.

Success for teachers at every grade level rests with helping students become authentically excellent readers. Do that, and the majority of students will love reading. Do that, and they will soar in the classroom. Teachers will have what they need -- students who are properly prepared to learn because they can read and enjoy text.

Rhonda Stone

I think the success of students in schools should be tied not to the salaries of the teachers alone but to all school personnel working in the same school and any leglislators whose schools fall under their district/judidiction. State and local governments have failed schools. In other words, we need to stop scapegoating teachers alone and begin to take a real hard look at all of the support students are entitled to have. Teachers have already sacrificed salaries by buying materials for students that were already paid for by the public but for some reason are not accessible to teachers or students. They have offered their time to help parents and students without additional pay and they work in an extremely unsupportive atmosphere where parents and teachers are pitted against each other as the reason for why students are failing. It is not. Yes, there are some teachers that need to get out of the education field and yes there are a few parents too that are not doing enough to support their childreb. But overall, most parents and teachers are doing their best for children. Sadly, both teachers and parents have been reacting to the society's and political pressure to be the "savior " of the school district. It has been clear that the political arena and business world are beginning to look at schools as a for-profit business so it is not up to teachers'teaching techniques or commitment to solve how poorly our education system works today.

So if you plan to tie compensation to student excellence then it should be tied to every person connected to the school either in the school building, who oversee the school administration and also whose district the school is in. For every time the school fails to meet national standards, the state or local representative loses pay, the teachers lose pay and the administration including school counselors, nurses, tutors, etc. lose salaries and if the school doesn't improve in 2 years, those individuals need to lose their positions. Parents need to be shown respect and not be blamed for the failure of the school system that they entrusted their children in for at least 6 or more hours a day. Parents are stakeholders or more like stockholders that pay taxes for quality education but get no say as to how it is run. This needs to change so that referendums on any school changes must be voted on by those who contribute money to the system. All school boards must be elected position - elected by the city or state residence and not appointed by governors or mayors. Transparency must be the top priority with all information about the running of a school posted on the website for review including where thousands of books and school materials are stashed and not used in the classroom, how each class or school budget was used, the number of students in each class and the number of teachers, teacher's aids are in the classroom, list of all curriculum and school lessons are to be posted and how they tie into the national standards. In addition, schools must include more community service, internships and vocational training starting as early as middle-school. Teaching students not only what it takes to get into college and get a job is important but also teaching children about how to keep a job and stay in school and job culture etc is also important.

We need to look at what Finland is doing and what schools in Asia are also doing to ensure that ALL students are ready to be positive contribution to our society. Perhaps we need to look at other option such as bringing back some one room multi-grade classrooms so that children can be learners and teachers at the same time, working in teams to help fellow students. WE also really must look at the lack of diversity in schools and how this is really affecting the way students are not developing good social skills.Every student needs to have a class on communication skills, bullying and diversity training by freshmen year in high school. We need to build up local community schools so that students do not spend two hours or more on transporting to and from school which by the way is adding to the obesity and stress of students today. Do we really value education in the USA. We will see. Right now, education is like a pawn in a game between political groups, state vs. local governments andschool district finance departments.

Traditionally, teachers have been left out of the conversation about what a teacher needs to know and do to engage and direct student learning. Everybody else knows best, but not the teacher. Society determines what is to be taught for the economic and social survival of the country. The teacher determines how to develop a plan of action for each student's learning outcome to meet the expectations of society and success of the student. Teaching is not for the faint of heart as there is no one guideline or set pattern to follow in meeting each student's educational needs that ensure academic, social, and emotional success. Doctors and lawyers have guidelines that are specific to the circumstance before them because of the collaboration, coordination, and communication that exist within their professions. Teachers need the same specific guidelines developed within their profession and the opportunity to achieve at the highest level of the teaching profession with adequate economic compensation and still be in the classroom.

Project RESPECT finally gives teachers a seat at the table to discuss what a teacher needs to know and do to engage and direct student learning. Am looking forward to reading the plan.

I think this is a great start,but I would like some focus on the creative aspect of teaching. With so many directives from the top down approach, the art and creativity gets lost in meeting all the prescripted details required in some evaluation models. If we are educated and certified, we need provisions for some autonomy to meet the needs of the class. I love that you include collaboration, but somehow time for it needs to be built in to the school day or week.

The term "accountability" is frequently used but is open to wide interpretations. In the past and now, we have all been accountable intrinsically and extrinsiccally. Shift the focus from blanket "accountabliltiy" to best practices and policies based upon current cognative and developmentaly appropriate learning theories, with a focus on the philisophical foundations of public education that are based upon Dewy, Bruner, Vygotsky etc. and the American core ideas of accesibility, equity, voice and democracy.

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