Secretary Duncan on Supporting Teachers

“As a country we have to dramatically improve respect and admiration for teachers,” Secretary Duncan said in response to a question about teachers being undervalued in the U.S.

He goes on in this November 22 video to describe efforts to support teachers, strengthen the teaching profession, and improve parent involvement.

Click here for an accessible version of the video.

See all the topics or all videos in the playlist.


  1. Talk to teachers,and you can find the best solution for the county.So far you have no idea how to improve the education.

  2. Education in this country is really going down south and very soon, no child will like to go to School for couple of reason: Student loans are unaffordable and very expensive. I went to School and got my Associate Degree and you know how much I am paying back every month? $750.00 can you believe that…$750.00 how many families can afford this, not very many and what if you can not find a good paying job? Well you think about it.
    Young kids know nothing in this country but paying bills…By the time a child graduates from college in this country, he/she is indebted up to his eyeballs, the least I have seen is $20,000.00 and by the time he/she is done paying the loan he/she has paid double the original amount he was given. Pls help us, lower the interest rate, lower the cost of going to school. Tell this private universities to pls lower their tuition.

  3. Let’s open up a discussion on the federal level about what is going on in New York City Schools. It is after all the nation’s largest Public School System.

    Regarding Cathie Black’s appointment to Chancellor of New York City Schools.

    Some things to consider as we move into a new era in New York City education…
    1) When you’re seeking medical advice…do you ask a chef?
    2) When you’re seeking help with your automobile… do you ask a landscaper?
    3) When you need a new roof… do you call Rotor Rooter?

    4) When Mayor Bloomberg needs someone to head up the public school system in New York what does he do?

    Does he:
    A) Consult with education advisor’s?
    B) Enlist the assistance of a consulting/recruiting firm with expertise in education?
    C) Begin a sweeping search for the most “QUALIFIED” person
    D) Reach out to other large public school systems (aka Washington DC) to inquire about their success?
    E) Conduct an intensive interview process to determine the best fit for New York? or
    F) None of the above but shoves his decision down our throats?
    Is the appointment of a “2nd in command” even legal under the Equal Opportunity Employment Act. Was the position posted? Could other people apply for it?

    I like that Steiner declined the waiver to begin with. It satisfied the masses, like a bone cures a dog’s craving, but only for a while. It sure seems like they (Bloomberg, the DOE, etc) had this planned all along. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had this strategized for a long time. But of course that is only conjecture and infinitely deniable.

    It was heartening to hear she was denied the waiver at first, but I told everyone, watch and pay attention and you will get an education of how politics is conducted in the “real world”. And sure enough, right under our noses, a week later, she is confirmed. It is just offensive and sad to realize Bloomberg couldn’t care less about hiring someone with education experience. I mean are you telling me that there are not at least 25 people with 20+ years of management experience who have an education background? Ahh… that would be too much work and we just don’t have the time to conduct a search. Let’s get this woman in, she can read to some students in the Bronx and tele-commute 4 days a week. Sweet gig, huh!? And does the $250K kick in when she is up to speed or while she is getting up to speed? Hmmm… wish I could land a job like that.

    People say we need to move on because the kids of NY deserve to get back to the “business” of learning. I say they deserve better. They deserve to know there are people all over the city who believe they deserve an expert, someone who has a background in education to lead the country’s largest school system to a new era. I mean what kind of message is this sending to the students!!!!!??? How does a teacher answer the students who inquire about the Chancellor got a job without any background in the field? Transferable skills is one thing but this is just an insult to the parents, teachers and students of NY.

    It’s late, I apologize that some of this was not as coherent as it could be, but if you can do better… SPEAK UP! We need your voice. The students, parents and teachers need your voice. Thank you.


    Philip M. Gardiner

  4. I came out of the broadcasting profession to teach. I found my teaching colleagues, both those with teaching degrees and those with vocational certificates based on experience in their field, to be dedicated and effective–and we all worked many more hours than we were paid for. I needed and received mentoring for several years to help build my classroom management and curriculum development skills. But, a critical key to success for teachers that I witnessed over 34 years in the classroom was having an involved and competent administrator or principal in the school. Those skilled principals are becoming harder and harder to find. If you look at what works, and teachers can tell you what works, it usually comes back to a supportive and collaborative administration. I urge you to look to the experts at my National Education Assn. for some of the best practices from across the country.
    Finally, in my last few years teaching in a very successful program, with almost zero drop outs and over 77% placement rates into college and related careers, I was crippled by the demands of No Child Left Behind. My classroom became more and more an Alegbra and Reading remediation class (for which I had no formal training). The practical industry-driven applied math, science, reading and writing already incorporated in my classes were discounted and shoved aside by forced handouts for students to improve their state test scores. The career and technical parts of my classes suffered. NCLB is destroying our career and technical, arts and music, and language programs. Fix it or scrap it!

  5. I am very much with Laura. My student loans are outrageous. I teach in a school that borders on the poverty line requirements for having student loan forgiveness. Student loan help would be a wonderful way to support teachers.

  6. I have been teaching at risk students for 20 years with great success and not one of MY student loans has been forgiven…how about forgiving loans for those of us who stick with it…instead of just “teach for america” folks who quit after the 2-3 years they put in??????

  7. Mr. Duncan, I am 50+ years old and always had a dream — to become a teacher. In January 2009, that dream became a reality but it also became a nightmare. I was hired in February in an area that was not my content area and was granted an emergency license and until the end of that school year everything was fine. I was offered a contract in my subject area just before spring break of that year and eagerly signed. That first full year of teaching was so horrible. I was given a mentor that was too obese to come to my room and observe. she did not give me any valuable input to help solve my classroom management problems. The principal did not help me other than to give me my first written reprimand within the first month of school. From then on it was down-hill. At this time, because of being non-renewed and a felony conviction (over 16 years ago), I am now collecting unemployment benefits. As soon as I get another job, I am going to expunge my record. But it is a damn shame that a “highly qualified teacher” is collecting unemployment benefits. I did find another position but when the background check revealed the conviction, the district rescinded the offer. I understand that the economy is in the toilet, and I am not trying to dump on either you or President Obama, but I have an idea… How about finding a way that someone like me that has just one old conviction and has always worked and is an asset to society can be employed in a school system as long as the conviction was not committed against a child. I still have faith in both you and the President. Have a blessed day and Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I chose to go into teaching after having a career as a CPA because I love to teach. One person actually wrote on a blog that teachers are not as smart as engineers and other jobs so you cannot compare them. Every profession has its small population of people that may want to pursue another career – but the majority of teachers are smart and compassionate. Actually, with my siblings that are all very successful in other professions that are respected – yet they do not know basic information about our country. Many people I meet outside of teaching cannot tell you the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – they think they are the same thing. When asked to explain fractions or what a percent means, they say things like “Oh, I never understood that in school – I can’t even balance my checkbook”. These people are respected for their job but can’t do a teachers job. Thank you for taking a stand. Until we change the perception of our country – students will listen to the adults and not respect teachers. As a result of this, they do not focus on academics and feel they don’t have to listen to a teacher because their parents have said they are not smart. So sad – but thank you for taking a stand and trying to move this country in the right direction.

  9. Perhaps one way to “improve respect and admiration for teachers” is to treat them like the educational professionals that we are and not to demean us anymore. If you want to improve education, quit asking business people and ask teachers. Better yet, I have been emailing Sec. Duncan for 2 years and have personally requested that the Dept. of Education contact me, yet it seems you are too busy doing the dog and pony show with Bill Gates and Eli Broad–whose only educational degrees are from, where??

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