Why U.S. Secretary of Education Says 'RESPECT Project' Focused on Teachers is Needed?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education recently rolled out its proposal for the RESPECT Project(Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching).

The project is described as a national conversation led by active classroom teachers working temporarily for the department to help provide input on the administration’s 2013 budget proposal, and on the broader effort to reform teaching.

“Our goal is to work with educators in rebuilding their profession—and to elevate the teacher voice in shaping federal, state and local education policy,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the launch. “Our larger goal is to make teaching not only America’s most important profession—but America’s most respected profession."

But the new program needs Congressional approval as part of President Obama’s 2013 $69.8 billion education budget proposal and that's no guarantee. The administration is proposing a $5 billion competitive grant program to encourage states to reform the teaching profession, using the Race to the Top school improvement competition as a model.

Officials say RESPECT would challenge states and school districts to work with teachers, unions, colleges of education and other education stakeholders to reform the teaching profession.

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