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April 27, 2005 Extra Credit
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April 27, 2005

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Secretary Spellings Recognizes the Efforts of our Nation’s Teachers

Secretary Spellings Recognizes the Efforts of our Nation’s Teachers

The following are excerpts from Secretary Spellings’ prepared remarks given today at the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference in Washington, D.C. Spellings spoke to an audience that included the Milken National Educator Awards recipients.

"Let me thank the teachers and principals here today. There’s no harder job in the world than being a teacher. And as you well know, there’s no more rewarding job either.

I know you didn’t choose this profession to win accolades. You didn’t choose it to make the cover of magazines. You chose it because you wanted to help children and serve your communities. In truth, I know most of you didn’t choose this path at all. It chose you. As President Bush likes to say, teaching is a calling. And I want to thank you all for answering that call.

That’s why these awards are so important. They give us a chance to say thank you and to reward you for your hard work. That’s something we don’t do often enough for teachers in this country. And it’s something we must change if we want to realize the promise of No Child Left Behind."

"We must treat our teachers like the professionals they are. And that means we must reward teachers who make real progress closing the achievement gap in the most challenging classrooms. That’s why the president has proposed a new $500 million Teacher Incentive Fund. This fund will provide states with money to reward teachers who take the toughest jobs and achieve real results."

"The Teacher Incentive Fund will help align the way we reward teachers with the goals of No Child Left Behind. If we expect results for every child, we must support teachers who are getting the job done in America’s toughest classrooms. …

We’ll also reserve some of this money to help states and districts develop new performance-based teacher compensation systems. Right now, most districts use pay models based on credentials and seniority. The longer you work, the more money you make. We want to help states develop pay models that reward not just experience but also results and hard work in challenging environments."

"As we work to make the teaching career more attractive, we also must tear down the barriers that have kept many of the best and brightest out of our nation’s classrooms. The Teaching Commission estimates that over the next decade, our nation’s public schools will need to hire around two million new teachers.

The president’s budget includes almost $100 million to help schools meet this demand, including $40 million for a new Adjunct Teacher Corps Initiative. This money would help bring talented professionals from other walks of life to high school classrooms. These non-traditional teachers can bring valuable real-world experience to subjects like math and science. Imagine a NASA scientist teaching high school physics."

"We knew when we passed No Child Left Behind that the hard work of closing the achievement gap would fall on your shoulders. We also knew that you wouldn’t want it any other way. You never give up on a child. It’s the same hope that drew you to teaching in the first place. And it’s the same spirit that will lead us to the promise of No Child Left Behind."

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 08/14/2013