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U.S. Department of Education Kicks-Off Teacher Appreciation Week with a National Dialogue on Strengthening and Elevating the Teaching Profession

Press Release

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A vision document for reforming the teaching profession created by active classroom teachers working temporarily for the U.S. Department of Education has been posted for public comment on the Department's website today as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. The 14-page document reflects input from more than 2,500 teachers across the country who participated in approximately 200 roundtable meetings over the past six months.

"Teacher input is essential to strengthening the teaching profession," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Teachers are the greatest in-school factor that impacts student achievement. To elevate our education system, we need educators' voices driving the national dialogue around improving teacher preparation, development, career ladders and compensation."

The RESPECT Project, which stands for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching, is the Obama Administration's effort to honor and elevate America's educators. The administration's proposed 2013 budget seeks $5 billion for a new competitive program to support states and districts working to reform the teaching profession.

"Our goal is to make one of America's most important professions into one of America's most valued professions. We encourage educators nationwide to join this important conversation and share their ideas for transforming the field of teaching," said Duncan.

As part of its work to better support teachers, the administration has held two international conferences with labor leaders and education ministers from high-performing countries around the world. And, later this month, the administration, national teacher unions, school superintendents, school boards and labor mediators are convening for two days in Cincinnati to focus on reforming the teaching profession.

RESPECT explores transformative ideas for improving classroom instruction, making the most of the school day and year, strengthening the relationship between principal and teachers, and distributing talent to high-need schools and subjects. In addition, it discusses effective methods for recruitment, training, development, and creating career pathways that encourage talented teachers and leaders to maintain professions in education.

Duncan has also called for dramatically boosting teacher salaries so they are more competitive with professions like medicine, law and engineering. He repeated the call for higher salaries in an op-ed posted today on The Huffington Post and the Department's website.

The vision document, titled "The RESPECT Project: Envisioning a Teaching Profession for the 21st Century", is available for public comment June 19, 2012 at

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