by Jen Donovan
The RESPECT Project, part of the Obama Administration’s 2013 proposed budget, is part of a $5 billion program devoted to working with educators to reform and elevate the field of teaching. In his State of the Union address President Obama voices his reasons for reform: “No other profession carries a greater burden for securing our economic future. No other profession holds out more promise of opportunity to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. And no other profession deserves more respect." Project RESPECT, headed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, aims to provide teachers with appropriate resources, recognition, and compensation.
The proposal will affect all facets of the teaching profession from training to tenure. The goal can be found in the acronym, RESPECT: Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching. Consistent with Obama’s plan, Project RESPECT will focus on making schools of education more selective and rewarding good teachers with salaries that are competitive with other professions. Obama makes the promise to “Give [schools] the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility to teach with creativity and passion, to stop teaching to the test, and to replace teachers who just aren't helping kids learn. That's a bargain worth making."
Duncan hopes that the RESPECT proposal will introduce and inform the administration about the deeper flaws within the education profession. “Our larger goal is to make teaching not only America's most important profession, but also America's most respected profession,” he says.
If approved by congress, Project RESPECT will challenge states and districts and will require the cooperation of district principals and administration, schools of education, and teachers’ unions.
For more information on Project RESPECT, visit the U. S. Department of Education website.