NCTAF Promotes a New Vision of Teaching Quality for the 21st Century at Annual Partners’ Symposium

July 03, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
ST. PAUL, Minn. – July 3, 2006 – State leaders will be challenged to rethink their view of teaching quality at the Annual Partners’ Symposium of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF). The Symposium will convene July 9-11 in St. Paul, Minn., at the St. Paul Hotel.

Participants from more than 30 states will engage in an interactive series of sessions and panel discussions focused on the meeting’s theme, “Teaching for America’s Future: Quality Teaching in High-Priority Schools.”

NCTAF Co-Chairs Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education, and Ted Sanders, past President of the Education Commission of the States, will be delivering opening and closing remarks on the need for American education to fundamentally reframe the debate about how to close the achievement gap by moving the teaching profession into the 21st Century.

“It is time to end the era of stand-alone teaching in isolated classrooms, so that we can bring the spirit and power of teamwork into our schools,” said NCTAF President Tom Carroll. “We have to stop thinking of quality teaching as an individual accomplishment; it is time to recognize that quality teaching is a collaborative effort among teachers who are joining forces to improve student achievement beyond what any of them could accomplish alone,” he added.

The sessions at the NCTAF Symposium will serve as a resource on a number of topics related to teaching quality (see attached agenda). Minnesota Deputy Education Commissioner Chas Anderson will give a presentation on Minnesota’s Q Comp performance and professional pay program. Q Comp is designed to advance the teaching profession by providing structured professional development and evaluation, as well as an alternative pay schedule that compensates teachers based on performance, not just seniority.

“We are excited that NCTAF is bringing its Annual Partners’ Symposium to our state,” Minnesota Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said. “I believe this meeting will provide an opportunity for state leaders to learn more about innovative programs and initiatives, like Q Comp, and perhaps develop steps to ensure that all students have access to highly qualified teachers.”

As states are under increasing pressure to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind act (i.e., the highly qualified teacher provision), NCTAF has designed a half-day of panel discussions and workshops on Tuesday, July 11, to help state leaders respond to the demands of the federal law.

Sandy Kress, former Education Advisor to President Bush, will discuss his thoughts on the NCLB legislation he played a key role in designing. Kress will be joined by a panel of NCLB experts to lead this important conversation: M. René Islas, Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education within the U.S. Department of Education; Alex Nock, Director of the Commission on No Child Left Behind; Wendy Puriefoy, President of Public Education Network (PEN); and Roberto Rodriguez, Senior Education Advisor to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

In addition, NCTAF will also be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking report, What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future, at a Gala Reception on Monday, July 10. NCTAF has invited a trio of guest speakers to mark this celebration: Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, former Executive Director of NCTAF and Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University; Dr. James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale Study Center; and Dr. Alice Seagren, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education.


The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. NCTAF is dedicated to providing every child with competent, caring, qualified teaching in schools organized for success. With a network of 23 partner states and links to professional educational organizations across the nation, NCTAF provides leadership on innovation and improvement in teaching and learning in America’s schools. For more information, visit NCTAF’s website: