WASHINGTON (September 8, 2006) – Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings joins C-SPAN’s, “The Newsmakers,” program on Sunday, September 10 at 10 a.m./6 p.m. ET.
With the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law next year, Secretary Spellings discussed a number of related issues, such as improving teacher quality and teacher shortages, the renewed focus on high school education, and working with the states on standards for measuring student progress. The interview was taped Wednesday and a complete transcript is attached with excerpts that follow.
Ben Feller of the Associated Press and the Washington Post’s Jay Mathews joined C-SPAN in the questioning.
C-SPAN’s weekly program with the people making news in the world of politics and public policy airs Sundays at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m ET. The program is archived online at www.c-span.org C-SPAN, the political network of record, was created in 1979 by America’s cable companies as a public service. C-SPAN is currently available in 90.7 million households. For more information about C-SPAN, visit www.C-SPAN.org.
Excerpts from C-SPAN’s “The Newsmakers” interview with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. SPELLINGS: And then the other thing, and Congress just appropriated about $100 million for this purpose, we have to figure out ways to reward our very best teachers to do the most challenging work. And that means that in our inner cities and places that are educationally challenged we need to pay those people more…
HOST: But teacher pay always runs into road blocks such as the amount of revenue available. I mean, localities for teacher pay and then also teacher unions in the parity question.
SPELLINGS: It does, but what I’m saying here, and this is sort of a new thing, is we’re going to have to make some distinctions about our very best performers and we’re going to have to start making some distinctions about most challenging work.
In fact, there are incentives that are really the opposite of that in the system now that as teachers get seniority and as they gain tenure then they have more flexibility to teach in the less challenging educational environments and so forth. And we need to figure out ways to reverse that trend if we’re going to close the achievement gap and make sure every student has a highly qualified teacher in front of their classroom.
But, you know, it’s intriguing to me that the two conversations we’ve just had here are how are we going to get to proficiency for everybody and then the standard is too low. These are things that are frequently in tension with one another that yes, we need to continue to raise the bar, much higher standards.
But we also have to remain committed as we have in the federal government for the last 40 years to our neediest, most challenged students. If 90 percent of the jobs require post-secondary education or getting half of our minority students out of high school on time, we’ve got a big disconnect.
And, you know, lowering the bar or finding ways to exempt more students out of the system is not the way to make sure that those people are able to provide for their families in the future.