The US Department of Education has joined with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in announcing their new online community for educators, Commit to Lead.
The website offers educators a place to collaborate ideas and provide feedback for one another. The most discussed ideas will hold the highest positions, allowing them to more easily come to fruition.
"Commit to Lead directly engages educators in defining what teacher leadership can and should look like in their communities, so that collectively we can help make teacher leadership part of the fabric and culture of every school," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "It builds on the great work that already exists in the field, and invites the creation of new ideas. It represents one step in our ongoing commitment to listen to educators and support their vital leadership of their profession."
Commit to Lead allows users to type their suggestions for advancing teaching leadership in 300 words or less. Users may also address a current problem in education and suggest a way to improve upon it. The site asks its members to keep politics out of the conversations, only allowing ideas and statements concerning education. Ideas can be searched by keywords for easy finding, as well as by location.
"In all true professions, the voices of accomplished practitioners are at the forefront of shaping policy and practice—the same must be true for teaching," said Ronald Thorpe, president and CEO of the National Board. "The National Board is working with the U.S. Department of Education and supporters to build a continuum in teaching that makes board certification the norm for teachers and supports multiple paths for more experienced teachers to spread their expertise to their colleagues through both formal and informal roles."
Some of the ideas teachers have been discussing on the site include suggested asking state education leaders to visit classrooms in an effort to gain more teacher perspective on state policy and training lead teachers to act as peer observers.
According to a recent poll, 69% of teachers feel they have a voice in their school. That number drops to about 33% for the district level, 5% at the state level, and just 2% feel they have a voice on a national level. Commit to Lead aims to change all that.
Commit to Lead is the online platform for Teach to Lead, an initiative whose primary goal is the advancement of student achievement through leadership opportunities for teachers that allows them to remain in the classroom. The collaboration believes these opportunities should come from the teachers themselves, not from outside the profession, in a close partnership with principals and other education professionals.