The 1996 Forum was the fourth time that the Department of Education hosted the National Teacher Forum. We invited a group of 120 exemplary public and private school teachers to Washington to discuss such questions as "Why is teacher leadership needed?", "What forms can teacher leadership take?", and "What steps can teachers take to become effective leaders?" We wanted to hear their thoughts and to explore ways in which the federal government can better listen to and support the critically important work of teachers. Each teacher was encouraged to consider ideas of leadership which they could take back into their schools, districts and states.
The National Teacher Forum is a necessary part of an ongoing dialogue between teachers and the Department. By supporting teachers as they become leaders, we are laying a foundation for them to become partners in local and state education efforts. Teachers Leading the Way reverberates with the voices of teachers as they talk about taking steps toward leadership. Their ideas and their thoughtful concerns are evidence of their commitment to the children of this country.
We can learn much from listening to teachers. I hope you enjoy hearing their voices.
Richard W. Riley