House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.



Committee Statement

May 4, 2010

CONTACT: Alexa Marrero
or Brian Newell
(202) 225-4527

Castle Statement: Hearing on “Supporting America’s Educators: The Importance of Quality Teachers and Leaders”

Thank you Mr. Chairman. I wish to welcome our witnesses and offer my thanks for your participation in this hearing. We are here today to look at the importance of quality teachers and explore ways to support the best educators for our kids. 

No one denies the success of our education system depends largely upon the quality of classroom instruction. Students deserve the most effective teachers because their future achievement may well depend upon the caliber of the men or women standing before them in the classroom. Academic research has confirmed that students with excellent teachers excel while those assigned to teachers that are less effective sadly lag behind. 

As federal policymakers, we have a responsibility to help ensure teachers are equipped and trained to perform well in the classroom. This is a responsibility we share with state and local leaders, who stand at the forefront of education policy. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how we can support the efforts already underway that work and reform those that do not.  

For years Republicans in Congress have championed programs, such as the Teacher Incentive Fund, to improve teacher effectiveness in the classroom and reward effective teachers. Republicans also believe in “letting teachers teach,” which means trusting the wisdom of the educators on the frontlines and not the wisdom of bureaucrats in Washington.  

The Administration has included a number of proposals in their blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that touch upon teacher performance, and I am sure those proposals will be a part of our discussion today as well. We need to look into these issues more closely, so we can move forward with reauthorization in a way that is responsible and that serves the best interests of students. 

In closing, let me say there is no one-size-fits-all federal solution to ensuring an effective teacher is in every classroom. But there are ways the Congress can learn from our partners at the state and local levels, encourage innovation around the country, and remove harmful barriers at the federal level that stand in the way of student achievement. We must ensure that our efforts in Washington D.C. do not undermine the ability for teachers and principals to make decisions that best suit their students’ unique needs. 

Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing, and thank you to the witnesses for being with us this afternoon. 

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