Secretary Arne Duncan Thanks Teachers

Teachers are doing “the most important work…in our country today,” Arne Duncan says in a new video for the Teaching Channel that is timed to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Secretary also encourages Americans to thank a teacher on Nov. 25 as part of the “National Day of Listening” organized by the StoryCorps oral history project. On this day — the day after Thanksgiving – Americans of all ages are invited to talk with or about a favorite teacher.

Watch the Teaching Channel video of Secretary Duncan thanking teachers.

Find out more about StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening and the National Teachers Initiative, which was announced at the White House in September.

Screenshot of Secretary Duncan's Teaching Channel video


  1. With regard to extended learning for high poverty schools:
    This is a good opportunity for children who are poor, but in stable housing situations. For those whose parent or guardian is in shared housing (7-10 people in a 2-bedroom apartment, for example), an extended day can be more than they can handle. They don’t get enough sleep due to noise and are already sleeping in class.

  2. It’s great to see that a government official is taking some sort of interest.
    Saying thank you definitely shows appreciation and motive to do better job
    and no job is more important than teaching the youth.
    Thanks form me Suze

  3. Woops, “but a mediocre teacher with high achieving students can have a less deleterious affect THAN a mediocre teacher with a low achieving class.”

  4. Thank you to Sec. Duncan for taking time to thank teachers! In Phoenix, we have started a non-profit, The Be Kind People Project, that gathered over 400 dedicated citizens to prepare appreciation gifts for over 10,000 teachers in November! We also believe in the importance of the influence of teachers to the strength of our children, our communities, and our nation. We’d love to talk to you sometime about our plans to take our teacher recognition program nationwide and also for our plans to help inspire classroom kindness. Thank you for your fine leadership.


  5. It will not help America compete if teachers with backgrounds in math and science are squandered by forcing them to teach the bottom 1% of America’s children.

    Adding further insult, bureaucrats continue to drive away good teachers with federal intervention, state mandates, district policies and the nuisance known as Praxis testing for teacher applicants.

    • Norm, I cannot think of a single way we harm students if we put them in a classroom with talented teachers. It doesn’t matter if you are the top 1% or the bottom 1% (by the way, is this 1% based on performance? economics?). The injury to a student who has a teacher who does not excel at teaching varies from student to student; but a mediocre teacher with high achieving students can have a less deleterious affect then a mediocre teacher with a low achieving class.
      The other question that is brought up in your statement is how teachers with a background in math or science make for a quality teacher. This is hotly debated. And while I think teachers to have valuable life experience and expertise can make great teachers of math and science, that isn’t always the case. There is a difference between knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach something.
      Lastly, I am not sure that working with the lowest 1% dissuades quality teachers in math and science. I have an advanced degree, I was a marine biologist, and I have worked at one of the lowest performing schools in my state. It didn’t make me feel devalued to work with kids who didn’t know how to do science.
      I did, however feel devalued by the other thing you mentioned: federal and state management of teachers can have a way of fraying the edges of your practice. On the flip side, I have more training and more expertise at all sorts of things I never imagined I would know, because I was exposed to them teaching in public schools. I never had the same scope or opportunity working at some of the most prestigious private schools.

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