Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is releasing the Obama Administration’s blueprint for elevating and transforming the teaching profession, also known as the Blueprint for RESPECT (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching). The far-reaching proposals include more flexibility over the school day, the school year, the classroom set up, seniority structures, the grade-according-to-age system, leadership roles, and pay scales.
RESPECT was first launched in February of 2012 as a national conversation on the teaching profession, shortly after the President committed to support the development of a new, comprehensive teacher policy in his state of the union address.
Since then, the Department has 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 the new, 21st century demands being placed on them.
“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 suggests seven key components of a transformed teaching profession:
• A Culture of Shared Responsibility and Leadership
• Top Talent, Prepared for Success
• Continuous Growth and Professional Development
• Effective Teachers and Principals
• A Professional Career Continuum with Competitive Compensation
• Conditions for Successful Teaching and Learning
• Engaged Communities
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 asking for a $5 billion investment from Congress to support a RESPECT grant program outlined in the 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. Special mention is made of the need to provide incentives for English language 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.
Visit http://www.ed.gov/teaching for more information.
Let us know what you think of the blueprint by commenting!
I currently work outside the public school system as an Educational Specialist. I found the two districts I worked in very difficult due to the lack of funds and/or politics and bureaucracy. I like the bullet points of the RESPECT plan. I hope Obama gets the money to reform our school systems with an updated vision of public schooling. I would very much like to work in a public school where I had a caseload that I could serve meeting my own standards, as I do with a private practice. What I miss about working for the public schools, especially in West Contra Costa, is the diversity and inclusiveness. I did not have to charge a cent! Still, I had enough work for five individuals and it would not have been possible to sustain the effort I exerted to support the community over any length of time beyond the two years I served WCCUSD. I feel I could be a really valuable member of a school community, but I am only willing to work in a functional environment.
Having worked in many districts in CA as an Educational Consultant, I have learned that teachers and administrators yearn for respect as well as creativity/authenticity in teaching and learning. The seven key components of RESPECT are on target and I am interested in how they will be implemented/measured by individual districts. One thing is clear: education needs reform and it seems that it is finally on the national agenda, getting the attention it deserves.
The RESPECT bullet points sound encouraging but I’m wary whenever the Fed govt proposes sweeping changes to our states’ educational systems.
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