It’s Time To Modernize And Elevate The Teaching Profession
Our students are falling behind internationally. In an effort to catch up, we are asking more from our teachers than ever before. Yet we continue to provide them with inadequate preparation, training, and pay.
To address this gap, the Center for American Progress and 40 partner organizations are launching the TeachStrong campaign. It is a movement to change the national education policy conversation and make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the most pressing and significant education policy priority for our nation. As a part of the campaign’s launch, TeachStrong held an event today with Governor Jack Markell (D) of Delaware and Governor Terry Branstad (R) of Iowa, where they discussed the need for a bipartisan effort to act.
Though many initiatives to support teachers have been launched, professionalizing teaching has never been a pressing national priority. Here are some of the main goals of TeachStrong:
- De-polarize the education landscape to focus on a shared goal. In recent years, the education policy conversation has become polarized, leading many leaders to shy away from meaningful discussion about the teaching profession. With its 40 diverse partners joining together to highlight diverse stakeholders’ consensus around a shared vision for improving our public schools, TeachStrong can lay the groundwork for the fundamental changes that are needed to dramatically improve student achievement.
- Pursue a unified campaign based on nine shared principles. The TeachStrong coalition has worked to create nine principles of the campaign on issues such as candidate recruitment, tenure, compensation, professional development, testing, and career pathways.
- Make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue in 2016. TeachStrong is dedicated to creating the political will necessary to support policy changes that will lead to a modernized, professionalized teaching force, in line with medicine, law, or engineering.
It’s time to place modernizing and elevating the teaching profession at the forefront of the education policy agenda for 2016 and for the next 20 years of education reforms. As Carmel Martin, the executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, puts it: “this is the perfect time to bring people together who are hungry to turn the page on some of the contentious fights around testing and accountability” through the TeachStrong campaign.
BOTTOM LINE: We need the TeachStrong campaign because it is imperative that policy leaders shift the focus of education policy to developing better systems for recruiting, supporting, and compensating teachers. The TeachStrong coalition believes it will be able to change the prominence of teaching in the education policy narrative and agenda and set the stage for these reforms to happen in the coming years.
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