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AAE Federal Update May 15, 2012
posted by: Alix | May 15, 2012, 10:11 PM   

Federal Officials Recognize National Teacher Appreciation Week & National Charter Schools Week

Last week, May 7-11, 2012, was both National Teacher Appreciation Week and  National Charter Schools Week. In recognition, Congress and the Department of Education led the country in efforts to recognize both American teachers and the national charter school movement nationwide.

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) called the charter school movement a bipartisan cause for all to support. "Leaders on both sides of the political aisle agree charter schools play an invaluable role in our nation's education system," he stressed in a statement for the occasion. "These schools offer groundbreaking programs, raise parental engagement, and encourage innovation-all in the name of inspiring students to reach new heights-and they deserve our strong support."

In an opinion editorial for The Huffington Post, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan maintained that teacher voices are the most important in creating a system that works for all stakeholders. "Whatever we do to strengthen and elevate the teaching profession, we should bear in mind that reforms that fail to heed the voice of teachers are doomed," he said to kick off Teacher Appreciation Week.

The administration also encouraged the public to acknowledge teachers through innovative social media efforts. Millions of Americans took to Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday to thank teachers who have made a difference in their lives by using the hashtag #ThankaTeacher. Click here to read the heartfelt posts.

Click here to read AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner's statements on the occasion.

RESPECT Vision Statement Released for Comment

The Department of Education is asking to hear directly from teachers on a proposed $5 billion competitive program of the Obama administration designed to "strengthen and elevate the teaching profession" as part of President Obama's heavily debated 2013 education budget. The program is called the RESPECT Project, which stands for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching.

"We need to redefine what it means to teach in today's global economy," Secretary Duncan said in outlining the new initiative. "Because what you learn in school today is the foundation for what you will need to know tomorrow to be successful." President Obama has maintained that cultivating a culture of respect for teachers is among his administration's priorities.

As part of Teacher Appreciation Week last week, a vision document for reforming the teaching profession has been posted for public comment on the Department's website and will be available until June 19.

Click here to read the current comments.

AAE Signs on in Support of Teacher Incentive Fund in 2013

Last month, AAE joined with other forward-thinking organizations representing teachers, administrators, and business and community groups, in support of the recommended $400 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund (referred to as the Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund (TLIF) in the budget request) for fiscal year 2013. 

TIF is a powerful school reform model that requires grantees to make student achievement growth a significant factor in measuring teacher and principal performance and awards performance-based compensation, all while providing flexibility on the design of systems. TIF funding is supporting groundbreaking changes as recipients develop and implement performance-based compensation systems aligned with rigorous evaluation, student-growth measures, professional development and career growth for teachers in high-need schools.

Teachers, administrators, and school board members are able to use this funding to implement change at the local level.  The $400 million in TIF funding in fiscal year 2013 will ensure that we continue to drive these powerful changes to strengthen teacher effectiveness and student success in high need schools.

Click here to read the TIF letter of support submitted to legislators.

Green Ribbon Schools Recognized

In honor of Earth Day, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the first U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. Seventy-eight schools that span 29 states and the District of Columbia were recognized.

The Green Ribbon Schools initiative is an environmental awareness recognition program that launched in September 2011.  Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating green environments by reducing environmental impact, promoting health and wellness, and ensuring a high-quality environmental education to prepare students with 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy.

"Today, we are shining the spotlight on 78 terrific and innovative schools, but our real aim is more ambitious," the Secretary stressed in a statement.  "We don't want pockets of excellence.  We want success to be the norm."

The Green Ribbon School winners will be recognized for one year. Next year's competition will open this summer.  State education agencies are requested to indicate their intent to submit nominees by June 15 to

Click here
for more information on the program.

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