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PHOTOS: U.S. Education Secretary Visits Perry Hall High

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urged higher pay for teachers and criticized No Child Left Behind mandates Wednesday morning.

UPDATE (2 p.m.)—U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan chose , Baltimore County's , to speak about national education challenges Wednesday morning.

Before an audience of nearly 850 Baltimore County language arts teachers, Duncan received applause when he said teachers should be paid as much as doctors and lawyers.

He criticized several federal No Child Left Behind mandates, and focused on the U.S. Department of Education’s RESPECT Project, which seeks to bring a "sustainable transformation of the teaching profession."

"Reform is important ... unfortunately, America is slipping," Duncan said.

Read more about his speech in the article, .

Democratic State Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, a Perry Hall resident, said she found the speech "inspiring."

"Looking at the dynamic and how he appreciates what the kids are doing and how they come first—it was just great," Klausmeier said.

, a Perry Hall resident and Republican, added his approval.

"It was a good speech, it wasn't a partisan speech. He focused on a lot of themes that I think Republicans and Democrats can agree on—such as local flexibility. The tricky part is always funding," Marks said.

Marks' wife, a Baltimore County English teacher, was also in the audience during Duncan's speech, he said.

"It's not always going to be easy to get additional funding," Klausmeier added. "We need to look at programs and figure out what's working. That's what people need to hear, and teachers need to hear the respect they deserve."

Do you think teachers deserve higher pay? Can government afford to pay teachers more? Tell us in the comments.

Local Editor Nayana Davis contributed to this article.

Tim August 22, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Honestly, I'm not sure how Baltimore County teachers are going to get too much more pay given the state of the infrastructure in the county itself ( lack of A/C schools, overcrowding). However, there's got to be more subtle ways of helping teachers out - starting with actually giving them a worthwhile stipend for class supplies? I'm definitely not the best person to discuss though in this case. Teachers, please sound off. I'm curious, my son's just starting in elementary school Monday. On face value, when I look up the salary list, it SEEMS reasonable to me. Espeically if you have a Masters.
Tim Montoya August 22, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Arne Duncan said they were going to raid the Professional Development Fund to increase teacher's salaries. He also said 1st year teachers' pay would be increased to $65,000. This all sounds great being that we have a multi-trillion dollar federal deficit. This increase would be for teachers nationally. To replenish the fund, taxes will have to be increased. Also, they want current senior teachers making $125,000/year. BTW, this is all the Obama administration's idea. Think this appearance was a campaign visit? There was a Q&A session and it was all staged. The questions were collected and Arne was briefed as to what to expect so he wasn't caught off guard.
Tim August 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM
This whole 'staging' of the event is commonplace for these things.
Evets August 22, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I am a long time BCPS teacher who certainly found teaching to be a rewarding profession until recently. I feel that I am adequately compensated for my work. The decline in behavior and parental responsibility in recent years has certainly made the job more challenging. However, I have managed to to provide for my family rather comfortably, though not extravagantly, on my salary as a teacher. No complaints from me regarding pay (or benefits). And being able to spend the summer months with my family is priceless. I don't think I should be paid as much as a doctor, at least not a doctor who is in private practice. I do think that the pay of a teacher and a government employed lawyer (state prosecutor/public defender) ought to be similar. For all I know, the pay may be be similar.
Evets August 22, 2012 at 11:57 PM
IMO, the federal government has no business discussing teacher pay (nor most other education matters). Pay is a local/state issue.
Donna McDonough August 23, 2012 at 02:25 PM
While I agree that it would be great to be paid more since i am a teacher, the things most important to me and many colleagues is the respect issue. I know as much about children and how they learn as a doctor who diagnoses an illness, but almost everything I do is measured by numbers rather than how much better the patient is. I know my students well. I have kept up to date on my accreditation. But many folks question what I do and why. They decry the 9 months I work, 6 hour days, and Cadillac pension. Trust me, the school year is closer to 11 months when you include classes taken. The school day is closer to 10 hours to get close to completing all of the work necessary to do my job well. And my pension is better than none, but nowhere near enough to live anything like I do while I'm working. So, salaries are important, of course, but remember that I touch lives and help to shape our country's future. So please, a little respect would be greatly appreciated.

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