May 2011 Issue
April 25, 2011

Summit explores best practices

Author: Kara E. Smith
Source: NYSUT United

NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi and Vice Presidents Maria Neira and Kathleen Donahue helped forge new educational ground during the first International Summit on the Teaching Profession, a two-day conference that convened education experts from 16 high-performing and improving countries and regions worldwide to promote, develop and sustain world-class teaching.

"This summit underscored the important role unions play in strengthening education across the globe," said Iannuzzi. "It's worth noting that high-achieving countries, like Finland and Canada — which hold teachers and the teaching profession in high regard, promote high standards, and provide ongoing support through quality professional development — also have strong teachers' unions."

NYSUT's national affiliates, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, co-hosted the event, held in New York City. Both Dennis Van Roekel, NEA president, and Randi Weingarten, AFT president, played leading roles.

Other hosts included the U.S. Department of Education; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Education International; Council of Chief State School Officers; the Asia Society; and public broadcaster WNET.

"The International Summit on the Teaching Profession is an extraordinary opportunity to broaden our perspective on how to effectively recruit and support teachers," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Building a strong teaching force is critical to having a successful education system."

Discussion focused on teacher recruitment and preparation; development, support, and retention of teachers; teacher evaluation and compensation; and teacher engagement in education reform. The Asia Society will distribute a paper summarizing the summit discussions and findings in later weeks. The summit is the first step in building an ongoing international dialogue on improving education.

Attendees included education ministers, national union leaders and accomplished teachers, including Jeff Peneston, the 2011 New York State Teacher of the Year and 2007 Teacher of the Year Marguerite Izzo. Participants hailed from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, The People's Republic of China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The event took place in conjunction with the 2011 Celebration of Teaching and Learning.