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Teach to Lead

“The only way that higher standards, and new systems of support and evaluation, will work, is if teachers lead this change in partnership and collaboration with principals, parents and communities.... Teachers have spoken eloquently about how important it is to have a voice in what happens in their schools and their profession -- without leaving the classroom.” - U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan


On March 15, 2014, at the inaugural Teaching & Learning conference, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced a new initiative to spur teacher leadership that will be co-convened with the National Board. The initiative, called Teach to Lead, seeks to catalyze fundamental changes in the culture of schools and the culture of teaching so that teachers play a more central role in transforming teaching and learning, and in the development of policies that affect their work.

Following the announcement, Ron Thorpe sent a message to the nearly 5,000 people who attended Teaching & Learning seeking their input and involvement in Teach to Lead. He wrote: “This initiative will require all hands on deck -- or at least all those who believe that for our profession to meet its historic mission we must have real and meaningful ways to unleash the wisdom and talent of teachers in defining what teaching and learning means. In particular, this initiative is about re-imagining a teaching career that is designed for today's world, not one anchored in an industrial model that no longer works for students or teachers.”

Learn More

  • Watch a video of the Secretary's plenary and panel discussion with teachers
  • Read a transcript of the Secretary’s remarks.
  • Read the National Board’s press release on Teach to Lead.

Sign Up!

To be successful, Teach to Lead must be directed by the profession from the start. We are currently gathering input to shape the initiative. Please fill out this brief online survey if you are interested in being put on a list of educators to help drive this work and receive updates on our progress. (If you represent an organization that wishes to get involved, please fill out this version of the survey instead.) More information will be coming soon about this initiative – by signing up, you will be included in the conversation immediately.

What others are saying

  • Elementary school teacher Justin Minkel posts his hopeful view on Teach to Lead in his Education Week blog, Teaching for Triumph. (March 24, requires free registration)
  • On ED's Homeroom blog, Teaching Ambassador Fellow Lisa Clarke charts how Teach to Lead sprung from the Department's Blueprint for RESPECT, which was based on thousands of interviews with educators across the country.
  • In his Taking Note blog, veteran PBS education correspondent John Merrow called Secretary Duncan’s remarks about teacher leadership and his candid exchange with teachers on stage at the Teaching & Learning conference “a revelation.” (Blog published on Learning Matters, March 18)
  • Education policy analyst Rick Hess and teacher Maddie Fennell present opposing views. (Education Week, March 17, requires free registration)

 Join the conversation