Announcing NCTAF’s Great Teaching Initiative

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Announcements, Featured | 0 comments


NCTAF Launches Collective Action Strategy to Support Equitable Access
to Great Teaching for All Students

Key Education, Research & Policy Organizations Among Stakeholder Group to Develop
2016 Report & Advocate for Conditions that Support Great Teaching

Read Statements of Support for NCTAF’s Great Teaching Initiative here.


WASHINGTON, DC — May 13, 2015 — The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future is pleased to announce its plan to lead a positive, collaborative, action-oriented initiative to support great teaching. The initiative will focus on equitable access to great teaching for all students.

The three-year initiative will include hosting joint convenings around key issues that impact the teaching profession; establishing a collective research agenda; developing tools and strategies to support teachers, both in their classrooms and careers; and building a repository of best practices, case studies, and positive examples of components of great teaching to highlight what is working well in schools. In 2016, a major report will be released that will include action steps, policy and practice recommendations, as well as a retrospective look at what has happened in the teaching profession since 1996 following the release of NCTAF’s flagship report What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future. The Commission report will be the catalyst for a collective effort from the stakeholder group to implement the highlighted recommendations in the 2016 report.

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that all students have access to great teaching. It is going to take a concerted effort like this to guarantee that both teachers and students receive the necessary support from the federal, state, and local levels to be successful,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, NCTAF Commissioner and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. “By pooling our brain power, research, and innovative ideas, this group has the potential to address all of the key issues that fall within the teaching continuum.”

The country’s 3.4 million public school teachers need the proper support to prepare today’s students to enter a job market where, it has been estimated, 65 percent of those students eventually will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created. In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that more than 6.6 million STEM jobs need to be filled by 2022, which outpaces the growth rate of non-STEM jobs by about six percent.

“Our nation is at a critical point in time where the demands on teachers, parents, and students, as well as the education and job market landscapes, have changed dramatically. With the leadership of the Commission and the expertise in this stakeholder group, we believe this initiative will offer the guidance and direction needed to help move our schools forward,” said The Honorable Richard W. Riley, Co-chair of NCTAF and former U.S. Secretary of Education under President Bill Clinton.

“We know that this is an ambitious, but necessary, undertaking. As an independent organization, NCTAF has a track record for bringing disparate groups together and tackling the most complex education issues with a singular lens on what is best for teaching and learning,” added Ted Sanders, Co-chair of NCTAF and a former Deputy Secretary of the U. S. Department of Education under President George H.W. Bush.

To date, more than 30 leading education organizations, representing research, policy, and practice, have signaled their support to participate in this unified effort. NCTAF will work with the stakeholder group in two significant ways – to develop content and research for the 2016 report and to understand, synthesize, and promote the conditions that support great teaching.

Members of the stakeholder group have already engaged in some preliminary meetings and planning discussions in support of this effort. “There has been great synergy among this diverse group. We are really pleased to see a lot of consensus on the issues that truly matter for teachers and students,” said Melinda George, President of NCTAF. “It is from this point of agreement and the intersection of our collective work that we are building this movement.”

Based on NCTAF’s research, the coalition will focus many of its efforts around five priority conditions that support great teaching. The conditions are: equity, teacher recruitment and preparation, professional growth and retention, implementing standards, and accountability. The 2016 report will have chapters dedicated to these conditions.

There will also be a unified approach to establish a joint research agenda to ensure that the education community is assessing and refining key components that yield success for all students and is strengthening the evidence base to document which practices have impact. NCTAF, National Louis University, Georgia State University, and WestEd have established a critical partnership to develop the research focus.

“I think this type of collective partnership will set a precedent for other groups to emulate. By combining our resources, we can really go after some of the key issues that need to be tackled by the research community,” said Glen Harvey, Chief Executive Officer at WestEd.

The primary goals of this initiative are as follows.

  • Lead a collective effort to identify principles and recommendations to support great teaching.
  • Produce a roadmap that includes a synthesis of research, policy recommendations, and practice recommendations in several core areas.
  • Host joint convenings around key issues that impact the teaching profession to invite multiple perspectives and raise awareness around great teaching.
  • Develop a longer-term research agenda that addresses the next generation of key research questions.
  • Provide recommendations for aligning federal, state, and local efforts to support great teaching.

“NCTAF is leading the charge to support great teaching for deeper learning, a goal that is critical to ensuring that our children have the opportunity for success in college, career, and life. NCTAF has articulated a vision that we believe many leading education groups will embrace because it makes sense,” said Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at Hewlett Foundation. “Their ability to pinpoint policy and practice recommendations will provide an invaluable asset to the whole teaching profession.”


Media Contact: Karen Cheeks



The National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF) was founded in 1994 as a bipartisan effort to engage education policymakers and practitioners to address the entrenched national challenge of recruiting, developing, and retaining great teachers in order to ensure that all students have access to quality teaching in schools organized for success. For 20 years, NCTAF has worked to drive and inform the national dialogue about the importance of great teaching, especially in hard-to-staff schools. NCTAF’s research and recommendations inform innovations and improvements in teaching quality nationwide, focus attention on the importance of equitable distribution and retention of teachers, and promote promising practices for the development of teachers’ skills and career pathways.

Learn about NCTAF’s Commission here.

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