(Reuters) – U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will deliver a scathing critique of teacher training colleges on Wednesday as he unveils a $5 billion initiative to transform the teaching profession from top to bottom.
In remarks scheduled for delivery at 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT), Duncan will argue that the profession needs to become more selective, offer more consistent training, evaluate teacher effectiveness more critically and reward the best teachers with salaries on par with doctors and lawyers.
“Many of our schools of education are mediocre at best. Many teachers are poorly trained and isolated in their classrooms,” Duncan will say in remarks prepared for an online town hall meeting with educators.
“No other profession carries a greater burden for securing America’s future. And no other profession deserves more respect,” added Duncan, who once headed Chicago’s public schools.
But his ambitious goals may run into major roadblocks.
President Barack Obama’s administration wants states to compete for a share in $5 billion in federal grants to overhaul their teacher training colleges and create new standards for teacher evaluations. But that fund is subject to congressional approval, and Republicans have already served notice they intend to fight new spending initiatives.
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