Initiatives to Celebrate Teachers
U.S. Education Secretary Paige sends Congress progress report
about states' teacher quality initiatives.
U.S. Department of Education, July 15, 2003
Contact: Jane Glickman or Susan Aspey, (202) 401-1576
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U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige today announced a national
commitment to celebrate teachers and the teaching profession
with a series of initiatives designed to assist states and
educators in meeting the highly qualified teacher requirements
of the No Child Left Behind Act.
The centerpiece of the outreach effort is the new Teacher
Assistance Corps, a team of education experts, researchers and
practitioners who will provide voluntary support to states as
they carry out the highly qualified teacher provisions of the
The announcement came as Paige sent to Congress his second
annual report on states' teacher quality initiatives, "Meeting
the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge."
"President Bush and I believe teachers are the backbone of our
nation's schools," Secretary Paige said. "Today, I am pleased to
announce some exciting outreach efforts to provide guidance and
assistance to states, educators and administrators as they work
to meet No Child Left Behind's bold goal of having a highly
qualified teacher in every classroom by 2005-2006.
"One year ago, we issued our first report to Congress on the
quality of teacher preparation nationwide. This year's report
shows that states are making progress in strengthening teacher
quality, but we must do more to ensure that every child has the
best possible instruction."
The Teaching Assistance Corps will travel to states and perform
onsite reviews tailored to the explicit needs and concerns of
state officials. The teams will offer guidance and feedback on
state efforts, address specific state challenges and provide
useful information from other states about promising practices
in the field. Corps members also will clarify issues confused by
misunderstanding and misinformation. State participation is
Paige also announced that the Education Department is developing
a tool kit that will provide educators with accurate,
easy-to-understand information about No Child Left Behind,
including student achievement research that supports the
rationale for the teacher quality provisions. The tool kit also
will include information about loan forgiveness, tax credits and
liability protection for teachers, as well as links to helpful
Web sites and guidance on understanding the federal, state and
local roles in No Child Left Behind.
Under No Child Left Behind, highly qualified teachers must hold
at least a bachelor's degree, have full state certification or
licensure and have demonstrated competence in their subject
areas. However, states also have the flexibility to develop
alternative certification methods to enable veteran teachers to
show they have the content knowledge to be successful in the
classroom. This process may include a teacher's experience,
success as measured by student test scores, credit from classes
or high-quality professional development experiences and other
evaluations. Core subjects are defined as English, reading or
language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics
and government, economics, the arts, history and geography.
President Bush's 2004 budget proposal includes a commitment of
more than $4 billion in federal funding to help states prepare,
recruit and retain teachers in order to meet the highly
qualified teacher requirements.
This fall, the department expects to issue updated guidance on
specific issues related to teacher quality, including options
for middle school teachers, rural school challenges and
additional clarifications for veteran teachers. The updated
guidance will build on the Department's Title I regulations,
which were published Dec. 2, 2002; and the Title II
non-regulatory guidance, published Dec. 19, 2002.
The secretary's report to Congress provides a progress update on
state efforts to raise academic standards for teachers and lower
barriers that keep many talented individuals out of the teaching
profession. States are showing gains in some areas. For example,
as of October 2002, 35 states had developed and linked teacher
certification requirements to student content standards -- up
from 24 the previous year. All but nine states have approved an
alternative route to certification.
The report also highlights several promising innovations under
way to meet the highly qualified teachers goal. These include
bold reforms in two major areas -- traditional teacher
preparation programs and alternative routes to teaching.
For example, West Virginia University and 29 elementary and
secondary schools have formed a school-university partnership
through the Benedum Collaborative, which emphasizes early
classroom experience for teaching candidates, beginning in the
sophomore year. Teaching candidates are supervised, mentored and
evaluated by accomplished K-12 classroom teachers rather than
university faculty. The candidates also complete an action
research project that documents their classroom performance.
The report also highlights New York City's alternative route to
teaching program, pioneered in 2000 to address the city's
teacher shortage problem. The city's Teaching Fellows Program
recruits candidates with a bachelor's or master's degree in the
subject they will teach.
Teaching fellows undertake intensive training the summer before
entering the classroom, field-based work with experienced New
York City teachers and a series of meetings with advisers on
classroom techniques and teaching skills; at the same time they
begin pursuing a master's in education during the evenings and
weekends at one of 14 college partners. Last year, the Teaching
Fellows Program produced 25 percent of the city's new hires.
"Teachers are the heroes of the classroom, who are on the front
line day after day, week after week, dedicated to meeting the
needs of each child in their classroom," Secretary Paige added.
"This is by no means a simple task -- youngsters have a wide
range of learning styles that, in turn, require teachers to
employ a wide array of teaching techniques, to use a variety of
materials and to be constantly creative. President Bush and I
stand behind our classroom teachers with the greatest respect
and support as they carry out the daunting and imperative goal
of ensuring that each child experiences the joy of learning and
that not a single one is left behind."
The report to Congress, including state reports and accompanying
information, is available at
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