Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, said funding is an issue facing public school students and teachers.
"We don't necessarily have the funding to keep up with all the things we need to do to give children a 21st century education," Mieliwocki said Monday on "CBS This Morning." "In my state of California, funding has been cut to such a degree it's a real challenge to stay strong. That's what we need to work on."
In a time when many worry the U.S. is falling behind in public education, Mieliwocki has been cited for her excellence. Mieliwocki, a seventh grade English teacher from Burbank, Calif., will be honored by President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday.
Mieliwocki said she's a "firm believer in accountability" for teachers. She said, "It's important for me to stay relevant, make my lessons relevant to kids' lives. My number one job is to educate them and give them the skills they need to be successful in any kind of global careers they have planned for themselves. ... I'm a firm believer in accountability, making sure I do my job with kids."
When asked how teachers should be rewarded, Mieliwocki said, it may not be with higher pay. "No teacher goes into teaching for the money. I think that's obvious. That's not why we're there," she said. "We're in there for the outcomes we get from kids and because of the work that we do changes lives. Not many people can say at the end of the day that they've really made a difference in someone's life and their future. So, that's the reward. And if you paid me a million dollars or the salary that I get, the job is no less difficult. So, I'm not sure money is the reward.