Concluding Keynote Session and Luncheon: Envisioning the Future of The Teaching Profession

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The RESPECT Project: Transforming Teaching and Leading
U.S. Department of Education


What will it take to dramatically improve the quality and effectiveness of teaching in America’s classrooms? A panel of teachers and representatives from the U.S. Department of Education talked about the RESPECT initiative and the changes and innovations needed in how we recruit, prepare, support, and reward teachers to ensure that American students once again perform in the top 10 on international tests, achievement gaps narrow dramatically, and high school graduation rates skyrocket. Following are some highlights:

  • Sabrina Laine, vice president at AIR, offered closing remarks, thanking participants and presenters, and reiterated the need for continuing technical assistance around educator quality issues and for opportunities for states and regional comprehensive centers to collaborate.
  • Laurie Calvert, Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), discussed how the racial, economic, and achievement gaps in the student population and the lack of rigor in educator preparation programs have led to ED’s new “Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Initiative.” The RESPECT Initiative is a vision to transform the teaching profession, where the focus is not on the removal of ineffective teachers, but rather on recognizing where the profession is, formulating common goals among all stakeholders, and figuring out how to achieve those goals. She discussed the need for systems that deliberately and systematically recruit, select, prepare, develop, support, compensate, and retain teachers, and the importance of engaging teachers in transformation of their profession.
  • The teacher panel discussed the importance of collaboration, a shared vision, and common student-centered goals and beliefs among stakeholders as necessary components for the transformation of the teaching profession. The panel described the need for structures for ongoing and consistent dialogue with teachers at the state and district levels, and for educator-initiated solutions born out of collaboration. Additionally, the panel discussed the importance of engaging teacher unions as agents of change, as well as the need for formal processes and structures for developing teacher leadership.