Roughly 180 teachers, principals, and education advocates met at the US Department of Education’s (ED) headquarters last week to make connections and engage in conversations about how educators will lead the transformation of their profession.
Educators drilled down on a number of topics and made recommendations for the next steps in the RESPECT Project. One suggestion was that the federal government help districts and unions work together to develop more roles for teacher leaders inside schools; another was that ED be more involved in raising the bar on teacher preparation programs, including alternative certification programs.
A recurring theme was the power of educators to drive their own profession. “Teachers as leaders needs to be a linchpin of our efforts, not a bullet point,” said Ann Byrd of the Center for Teaching Quality. Other groups in the meeting argued that teachers should be allowed to apply directly for federal grants to implement innovative practices at their schools.
Another common thread was the public’s poor perception of the value of teaching and school leadership. It was suggested that ED work on “rebranding the profession,” such as through an advertising campaign, so that parents and taxpayers will support reform and place a higher value on the work teachers do.
To learn more about the RESPECT Project and the most recent meeting, please visit http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/08/teachers-and-principals-get-engaged/