Center for American Progress

RELEASE: In North Carolina, Education Leaders Call on Candidates to Make Modernizing and Elevating the Teaching Profession The Top Education Priority in 2016
Press Release

RELEASE: In North Carolina, Education Leaders Call on Candidates to Make Modernizing and Elevating the Teaching Profession The Top Education Priority in 2016

The TeachStrong campaign brings together teachers unions, teacher voice organizations, and education reform, civil rights, and education policy leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of 2016.

Charlotte, NC — Today in Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic and Republican lawmakers joined teachers and education leaders in support of the TeachStrong campaign, a new, national effort to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of 2016. Audience members heard a message from state Rep. Tricia Cotham (D), remarks from state Rep. Craig Horn (R), and a panel featuring local teachers and education leaders that addressed why it is critical that national and state leaders—including presidential candidates from both political parties—bring focus to this issue in 2016.

“Over the last 15 years we have seen a sharp increase in expectations for both our students and our teachers. However, the systems we have in place to recruit, train, support, and pay our teachers have not evolved alongside those demands,” said Catherine Brown, Vice President of Education Policy at the Center for American Progress. “It is time for education leaders and policy makers to start pay closer attention to how we can recruit and select talented people into the profession, and support teachers throughout the career continuum.”

State Rep. Cotham added: “As an educator, I am always advocating for teachers to be seen as the professionals that they are. I believe that TeachStrong’s agenda to modernize and elevate the profession—which includes better training, support, and pay for teachers—will help get us there.”

“Education is a top priority issue in North Carolina,” said state Rep. Horn. “If we are going to provide an excellent education for our kids, we need to be sure that our teachers are receiving the training, pay, and support they need to be successful in the classroom.”

Erlene Lyde, president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators and chemistry teacher at West Charlotte High School, said: “My first reaction to hearing the TeachStrong campaign was: People are finally beginning to understand how the policies and practices surrounding the teaching profession have impacted the ability of school systems to attract and retain top educators. We now have a national crisis that is not going to be solved by increased compensation alone. TeachStrong’s goal of modernizing and elevating the teaching profession, its nine core principles, and the diversity of its partners gives me hope that, this time, we might get it right.”

Uniting this diverse group of stakeholders is the fundamental belief that creating systems to attract and retain great teachers is the key to establishing an excellent and equitable education system and ensuring success for all students. The TeachStrong coalition, which is composed of 57 education groups—including teachers, teachers unions, teacher voice organizations, as well as leaders in education reform, civil rights, and education policy—shares a common, ambitious vision for a society in which teachers are more valued and supported at all stages of their careers. The TeachStrong campaign seeks to amplify that vision.

Collectively, the coalition believes that all students, especially those from low-income families, deserve to be taught by great teachers. To accomplish this goal, the coalition believes that the United States must modernize and elevate the teaching profession and strengthen the entire teacher career continuum. This will require investing in and developing policies that better recruit, prepare, support, and compensate teachers through all stages of their careers. The coalition has coalesced around nine campaign principles:

  • Identifying and recruiting more teacher candidates who have great potential to succeed, with a deliberate emphasis on diversifying the teacher workforce
  • Reimagining teacher preparation to make it more rooted in classroom practice and a professional knowledge base, with universal high standards for all candidates
  • Raising the bar for licensure so it is a meaningful measure of readiness-to-teach
  • Increasing compensation in order to attract and reward teachers as professionals
  • Providing support for new teachers through induction or residency programs
  • Ensuring tenure is a meaningful signal of professional accomplishment
  • Providing significantly more time, tools, and support for teachers to succeed—including through planning, collaboration, and development
  • Designing professional learning to better address student and teacher needs and to foster feedback and improvement
  • Creating career pathways that give teachers opportunities to lead and grow professionally

The organizational partners in TeachStrong are: Albert Shanker Institute, Alliance for Excellent Education, America Achieves, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Federation of Teachers, ASCD, Bank Street College of Education, Center for American Progress, Council of Chief State School Officers, Center on the Future of American Education, the Christensen Institute, Deans for Impact, Democrats for Education Reform, Digital Promise, Education Post, EducationCounsel, Education Reform Now, The Education Trust, the Education Policy Program at New America, Educators 4 Excellence, Educators Rising, Emerson Collective, Generation Schools Network, Hope Street Group, Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, Knowledge Alliance, Leading Educators, Learning Forward, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Center for Teacher Residencies, National Center on Time and Learning, National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future, National Council on Teacher Quality, National Education Association, National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, National Network of State Teachers of the Year, National Women’s Law Center, National Writing Project, New Leaders, New Teacher Center, Public Impact, Relay Graduate School of Education, Stand for Children, Southern Education Foundation, Teach For America, Teaching Matters, Teach Plus, The Teacher Salary Project, TESOL International Association, Third Way, TNTP, Urban Teachers, The VIVA Project, and The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation.

The TeachStrong teacher partners include Alexandra Fuentes from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia; Christina Ross from City Neighbors High School in Baltimore, Maryland; Jennifer Corroy Porras from IDEA College Preparatory Donna in Donna, Texas; Jody Zepp from Long Reach High School in Columbia, Maryland; Kayleigh White from Manhattan High School in New York, New York; and Shakera Oliver from Brightwood Education Campus in Washington, D.C.

More information about the campaign can be found at

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact