16-17 March 2011, New York, USA


The Summit highlighted some of the world’s best human resource practices that are raising achievement in schools. In the final session of the Summit, each participating country discussed its own take-home lessons and possible “next steps.” (This discussion can be viewed online at cotl/20110317/doe/default.html)

The next steps taken by each of the participating systems will depend on their particular challenges and stage of development, and will require extensive discussions in their home countries. But some common proposed key takeaway actions included the following:

  • Raising the quality and rigor of teacher-training programs, linked to professional standards;
  • Attracting high-quality and motivated teachers, especially from underrepresented groups or geographic regions;
  • Creating a more robust evidence base for teach¬ing and learning, including preparing teachers to participate in research on best practices and student outcomes;
  • Designing a comprehensive but cost-effective professional-development system, with input from teachers;
  • Redesigning training for school leaders and school boards to support teaching and learning;
  • Creating a teacher-appraisal system to promote professional improvement and student learning; and
  • Making policy development a partnership be-tween government and teachers’ organizations, and including a broad range of stakeholders in the process of improving the system.

Overall, participants recognized that top-down government policy alone will not create improve-ments at scale, and that it is necessary to build professional capacity for continuous improvement in schools.

Doing so involves increasing respect for teachers, developing teachers’ professional skills and work environments, and strengthening the trust between the government, teachers, and the public. However, these things cannot be instantly legislated; they must be worked on over time.

In conclusion, a single summit cannot hope to provide a complete understanding of all the thinking and strategies being employed by the participating countries, and the ways in which they have adapted their strategies to their own cultural and political contexts. However, this Summit did make clear that a broad and sustained commitment to building a profession—with clear standards, and in conditions that provide sufficient autonomy and intelligent accountability—yields results in terms of student achievement. No single nation has a monopoly on educational excellence. As educators face the task of preparing students for success as workers and citizens in this increasingly interconnected world, we are all eager to learn from one another.

In closing the Summit, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “We have a great deal to learn from other nations that are out-educating us today. As the United States seeks to revise its elementary- and secondary-education act—with the goal of providing a world-class education for all its students—it will be looking around the country and around the world to learn from the world’s best practices in raising the quality and effectiveness of teaching.” Secretary Duncan also committed to hosting a second summit in 2012, and the Netherlands delegation indicated a willingness to host a third summit in 2013.

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