U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is hosting an International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City on March 16-17. It is by “invitation only” and timed to take place right before the “Celebration of Teaching and Learning” at the NYC Hilton.

Duncan will be using this international platform to push the school privatization and market-based education policies he has been trying to impose on school districts across the nation. NEA and AFT national leaders, who have, despite their members’ opposition, endorsed much of of the Duncan ideology and rhetoric, will also be in attendance.

This event, which is sure to receive a great deal of publicity, provides us with a great opportunity to publicly demonstrate the opposition of students, teachers, parents and education advocates to Duncan’s K-12 policies, as well as to the massive budget cuts that are triggering tuition hikes across the country, undermining access to higher education.

BAMN is organizing a picket of the event. Would you or your organization be interested in participating? We haven’t yet worked out all the details, and we are flexible about choosing a time that would make it possible for the most people to attend.

If you are interested, please respond to this email with your contact information, and I will organize a conference call to work out the details.

Donna Stern
BAMN National Coordinator

P.S. The Dept of Ed Press Release about the event is copied below.

U.S. Department of Education and Partners to Convene World’s Education Leaders for Summit on Teaching Profession in March 201


December 15, 2010
Contact:   Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join leaders from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Education International (EI), together with the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the Asia Society and public broadcaster WNET, to host an International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City, March 16-17, 2011.

The summit will convene education ministers, national union leaders, education organization leaders and accomplished teachers from countries with high performing and rapidly improving educational systems to identify best practices worldwide that effectively strengthen the teaching profession in ways designed to enhance student achievement.

“When it comes to teaching, talent matters tremendously,” said Secretary Duncan. “But great teachers are not just born that way — it takes a high-quality system for recruiting, training, retaining, and supporting teachers over the course of their careers to develop an effective teaching force. This summit is a tremendous opportunity to learn from one another the best methods worldwide to address our common challenges: supporting and strengthening teachers and boosting the student skills necessary for success in today’s knowledge economy.”

“The prosperity of our nations depends on whether we succeed to attract the brightest minds into the teaching profession and the most talented teachers into the most challenging classrooms,” said OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría. “Working directly with leaders and teachers from across the globe is key to investing in our most precious asset — our youth.”

Participants will also engage in a discussion on the vital role teachers’ play in advancing progressive, sustainable education reform. “The summit represents a unique opportunity for teachers and their unions globally to consider the future of their profession as equal partners with governments,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “Qualified teachers are vital to the health and success of all our societies. Their input and status are vital to advancing the fight to achieve high quality education for all.”

The March summit is a first step in what will be an ongoing dialogue among these countries about the best way to achieve and sustain best practices to improve both teaching and learning. The department plans to work with participating leaders to compile and share effective practices publicly in the weeks following the summit.