Leaders from NEA Student Program Talk Teacher Prep with Secretary Duncan

Earlier this month, future teachers from the National Education Association (NEA) Student Program met with Secretary Duncan to discuss ways to reinvigorate teacher preparation and enhance communications with the Department of Education.

“These future teachers were frank,” Mary Ellen Flannery of the NEA wrote about the discussion. “They want to be respected for their choice to serve students, schools, and communities, they said. And they want to be better supported as they make the transition from student to teacher.”

Over the past year, ED has launched the RESPECT project to elevate the status of teaching profession. The Department’s top officials and Teaching Ambassador Fellows have held 250 roundtables with more than 3500 teachers to discuss and gain feedback on transforming the teaching profession so that teachers are as well prepared, developed, compensated and respected as other professions.

Click here to read more Student Voices Sessions, which are designed to engage young Americans with policy issues so that ED can learn from their perspectives to connect policies with student needs.

Samuel Ryan, OCO Regional and Youth Outreach Associate 


  1. After reading the PDK 2011 report I was pleased for the most part to see the poll

    TABLE 2. Suppose the brightest person you know
    said he or she would like to be a teacher. What would
    you most likely do: Encourage that person, discourage
    that person, or suggest that he or she consider
    other fi elds before deciding?

    74% percent of people would encourage the brightest person they know to become a teacher. This was pleasing to me because it shows that teachers are thought about with respect and that you need to be bright to become a teacher. Many times people see it as an easy job with fringe benefits but this poll shows that people see it as a respectable profession. I actually do encounter many students who want to be teachers and this could be possible because of the grade I teach. Perhaps the children in the early childhood grades see teachers as cool and loving and want to emulate that, where students who are older see teachers more as dictators and mean. Whatever the case be, I would encourage anyone I know to become a teacher if they have that love and passion for children and making a difference.

  2. I just read the PDK report from 2011, and the section about perceptions of teachers goes well with this article. Teachers need to be respected in the community, and of course they have to earn that respect; however, it is a vicious cycle – the PDK said that 74% of people would encourage the brightest person he/she knows to be a teacher. I am shocked by that number. Rarely do I have a student who wants to be a teacher when she/he grows up. I feel like teaching is not respected, and people don’t often push others into the profession. If they’re so smart, they are encouraged to go into another field. Developing the professionalism and perception of teachers as intellectuals and a desired field of study and career will help recruit “the best and the brightest.” However, teachers need to be respected in the media and communities for this to happen.

  3. I’m thrilled to read this post. Teachers do deserve respect and support for the job we do. I think it’s very important that the government, on a national level, address the teaching profession. As a result of NCLB, teachers have been under attack for quite some time. I’m glad to see that maybe times are changing and people are beginning to realize just how hard we work for American children. Please continue to talk to teachers as well as future teachers. We want to do our very best and we will with the proper support and funding.

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