RESPECT: The Obama Administration’s new Blueprint for Teaching

edTwo years ago, active classroom teachers working temporarily at the U.S. Department of Education launched a national dialogue with their classroom colleagues to talk openly and honestly about the challenges and aspirations of America’s teachers. The Education Department engaged more than 5,700 educators nationwide to develop and refine a vision of teaching and leading that will help both teachers and students to meet new, 21st century demands.

The Blueprint for RESPECT (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching) began as a national conversation on the teaching profession; the President has committed to support the development of a new, comprehensive teacher policy.

Recently, the Department of Education released the result of this unprecedented national dialogue in a bold and visionary blueprint for reforming the teaching profession.

“Our nation’s educators are entrusted with a responsibility that’s impossible to overstate – which is nothing less than to prepare their students, and our children, for the future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We heard from thousands of teachers from across the country who contributed their time and creative ideas to help the RESPECT blueprint reflect their own vision for the teaching profession. With this blueprint, together we can work to elevate the profession through competitive salaries, transforming professional development and career opportunities, and relying on the expertise of teachers to advance educational practice and improve outcomes for students.”

The RESPECT Blueprint embraces seven critical components of a transformed teaching profession jointly identified last spring by ED and seven other national organizations, including American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Association of School Administrators (AASA), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS), National Education Association (NEA), and National School Board Association (NSBA). It further identifies ways that this work will continue to be integrated into the Department’s existing policies and calls the field to take action to work toward the RESPECT vision.

President Obama is continuing to ask for a $5 billion investment from Congress to support a RESPECT grant program outlined in the RESPECT blueprint, including salaries for the teaching profession competitive with professions like architecture, medicine and law, more support for novice teachers, and more career opportunities for accomplished teachers.

In tandem with the release of the blueprint, the Department has re-launched ED’s educator homepage to include new information about the RESPECT initiative, including the blueprint document (both PDF and e-book formats), a description of how educators provided input, and video of teachers describing their connection with the RESPECT vision. The site also includes resources to help stakeholders take action, including a self-inventory to assess one’s own school or district on the seven critical components of RESPECT.

For more information, please visit the following websites. Watch educators discuss what excites them about the RESPECT vision, how teacher voice played a key role in shaping it, and why we must begin implementing it today: