White House Unveils Plan to Put 'A Great Teacher in Every Classroom'

The White House will announce plans to improve teacher preparation Friday morning, focusing on President Obama's overarching goal to put a great teacher in each classroom.

The mission will be to track successful and unsuccessful teachers back to their preparation programs, and then address the problems in unsuccessful teacher training programs.

"Today, unfortunately too many teacher prep programs get little or no information about how their grads are doing once they enter the profession," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "That is unacceptable and must change."

A rough draft of the plan will be released in the summer, when leaders will hold an open discussion. They hope to have a final plan in about a year.

"We know that when teachers enter the classrooms, students flourish," said Cecilia Muñoz, White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council. "When they enter the classrooms underprepared, they struggle and their students struggle."

The Department of Education will work collaboratively with the states, so Duncan doesn't see a major cost to the initiative.

"We don't see this as being a high cost item at all," he said.

Duncan pointed out that the United States trails other developing nations in education, acknowledging that America doesn't compensate or recognize teachers in the same ways as other countries.

"The level of respect teachers get in other countries is often different than the respect they get in the United States," he said. "We need to elevate the teaching profession here."

Duncan said one major problem is that teachers have too much education in history and theory, and not enough practical, hands-on experience.

"Every school I go to, when I ask teachers if they were prepared, there's a fair amount of nervous laughter," he said.

Duncan continued to say that teachers also don't have the necessary experience with technology that's used in the classroom.

"At the heart of the agenda has been placing a great teacher in every classroom," said Muñoz. "Teachers matter and a great teacher makes all the difference."