Secretary Duncan, Students and Education Experts Come Together to Discuss "Why Teach?" in Support of National TEACH Campaign to Recruit Next Generation of Teachers

Duncan: "We need the generation of today to answer the urgent call to teach"

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today joined leading educators and students in a TEACH-sponsored dialogue to elevate the perception of teaching and inspire top performing students to consider careers in teaching. Following the event, Secretary Duncan joined campus organizers in recruiting students to sign a pledge to learn more about careers in teaching.

This on-campus event is part of TEACH's multi-market recruitment program taking place on 21 colleges in the U.S., using peer-to-peer recruitment, PSAs, and social media to reach high-achieving young people who might not have otherwise considered a career in teaching. TEACH is a collaboration among the U.S. Department of Education, Microsoft, State Farm®, national education organizations and teacher associations to recruit future teachers.

"Current and aspiring teachers can help transform the lives of their students by boosting student learning, providing young people with support and inspiration, helping them to access higher education and new economic opportunities, and teaching them valuable skills for citizenship and leadership," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We know one of the most important factors influencing student learning in our nation's schools is the quality of teaching. To prepare the generation of tomorrow for college and careers, we need the generation of today to answer the urgent call to teach."

With fifty percent of pre/K-12 teachers eligible for retirement in the next 10 years, it is critical that young become teachers in order to educate the next generation of leaders. There is an urgent need to create a sustainable pipeline of top talent into the teaching profession to ensure that all students learn from talented, engaged and innovative teachers in order to close the widening opportunity gap. Doing so is imperative to prepare our workforce to be competitive in the 21st century.

In addition to recruiting talented individuals to be STEM teachers as the technology and science job sectors continue to grow, TEACH is also committed to recruiting students who will represent the nation's increasingly diverse student body. Currently, African-Americans and Hispanics make up 40 percent of our nation's student body, but less than 20 percent of teachers. Black males represent less than 2 percent of teachers.

MSNBC contributor Jeff Johnson moderated the panel, which discussed how innovation in the classroom aligns with young peoples' skillsets and goals, and how the teaching profession provides opportunities for collaboration and career advancement. George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development Dean Michael Feuer; Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards Teacher of the Year for the Washington, D.C. region, Jen Bado-Aleman; 2013-14 DC Teacher of the Year, Math Teacher Bill Day; and Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow, Joiselle Cunningham discussed how innovation in the classroom is motivating students academically, and benefitting their incomes and the economy in the future. Kate Gaskill, George Washington University Community-Engaged Teaching Program Graduate student emphasized the merits of TEACH's on-campus recruitment program at local colleges and universities as a way to reach top-performing students who might not think of teaching as an obvious career choice.

"At Microsoft we understand the need for great teachers; those who inspire and prepare our students to lead our global economy into the future are invaluable leaders," said Anthony Salcito, vice president, Worldwide Education, Microsoft Corp. "Teachers play a pivotal role in preparing students with the skills they need to succeed in high-skilled jobs, which is why we are excited to partner with the TEACH campaign to inspire the next generation of teachers and help transform K-12 education."

"State Farm's involvement in the TEACH campaign underscores our belief that high-quality teachers are essential for students to be successfully prepared for their future," said Ed Rust Jr., Chairman and CEO, State Farm. "By focusing on recruiting diverse and talented young people to the field, we're taking the first step in reaching the goal of ensuring that every student has a quality teacher in their classroom."

Nearly 60 TEACH student organizers are set up at their respective college campuses across the country. Student organizers are tabling on campuses and hosting events to invite students to sign pledge cards promising to learn more about a career in education. Prospective teachers are directed to where they can learn about the different pathways to become a teacher, depending on their education, location and interests. Since November 2013, more than 100,000 users have completed the site's interactive pathway.  Students can also find information about certification for various teaching jobs and a national job directory to explore the landscape of potential employment opportunities. 

"Every time I have the opportunity to step into my classroom I recognize that I have the ability to help shape a child's life, as they prepare for today's internationally competitive world," said Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow and panelist Joiselle Cunningham. "Teaching isn't simply a job, it is a career path with highly qualified, dedicated and passionate people who develop the next great leaders. It has been inspiring to see countless students across the country pledge to learn more about a career in teaching."

TEACH's campus program is amplified by Make More, a mass media public service advertising (PSA) campaign developed in partnership with the Ad Council. Launched in November 2013, the campaign aims to recruit the nation's high performing and diverse students into the teaching profession. For more information visit

View a recording of today's panel here.

Half of America's teachers will be eligible to retire over the next decade. We have an urgent need and unprecedented opportunity to drive the transformation of K-12 education by encouraging and empowering our nation's most talented students to teach. TEACH is leading the movement to recruit the next generation of teachers by redefining the profession as a top career choice. This public-private partnership includes the U.S. Department of Education, Microsoft, State Farm®, education organizations and teacher associations, and the Ad Council. To learn more, visit, like us at or follow us on Twitter @TEACHorg.




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