"I am 110 % in support of teachers. " Watch the video.
Now, I know some argue that during a recession, we should focus solely on economic issues. But education is an economic issue - if not the economic issue of our time. It's an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who've never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have. It's an economic issue when eight in ten new jobs will require workforce training or a higher education by the end of this decade. It's an economic issue when we know countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow.---
So, I want teachers to have higher salaries. I want them to have more support. I want them to be trained like the professionals they are - with rigorous residencies like the ones doctors go through. I want to give them career ladders so they have opportunities to advance, and earn real financial security. I want them to have a fulfilling and supportive workplace environment, and the resources - from basic supplies to reasonable class sizes - to help them succeed. Instead of a culture where we're always idolizing sports stars or celebrities, I want us to build a culture where we idolize the people who shape our children's future.
All I'm asking in return - as a president, and as a parent - is a measure of accountability. Surely we can agree that even as we applaud teachers for their hard work, we need to make sure they're delivering results in the classroom. If they're not, let's work with them to help them be more effective. And if that fails, let's find the right teacher for that classroom. As Arne says, our kids get only one chance at an education, and we need to get it right.
So, for anyone who wants to use Race to the Top to blame or punish teachers - you're missing the point. Our goal isn't to fire or admonish teachers. Our goal is accountability. It's to provide teachers with the support they need to be as effective as they can be. It's to create a better environment for teachers and students alike.