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Baltimore County Teachers Speak Candidly To U.S. Education Secretary

PERRY HALL, Md. (WJZ)—U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stops by one Baltimore County school just days before the start of the new school year.

As Gigi Barnett reports, it’s a visit meant to push a program that could give teachers more respect in the classroom.

At Perry Hall High in Baltimore County, hundreds of Maryland teachers packed the school’s auditorium.

This is how they’re kicking off the school year–by grilling the U.S. Secretary of Education.

“What else can we do or what is being done on the national level to advance closing this equity gap in all of our schools?” one teacher asked.

Duncan is in town to rally teachers.

And they responded, asking him about everything from retirement, college programs, and even the future of text books in the classroom.

“The question is should we be moving from print to digital as fast as we can? I think the answer is absolutely. There are other countries who have committed that by 2015 they will have no more text books. My question is: are we going to lead or are we going to follow?” Duncan responded.

Duncan is also here promoting a new $5 billion teaching program. It’s called The Respect Project, and it’s backed by President Barack Obama.

Duncan says the program will improve the way teachers are hired and paid nationwide.

“I go out to college campuses all the time to recruit. And, lots of folks say it’s in their heart, it’s their passion. But because of student loans or family circumstances, they can’t afford to teach. So, we’re leaving so much talent on the table,” Duncan said.

The president’s 2013 budget includes the $5 billion to pay for The Respect Project.

Duncan introduced The Respect Project earlier this year.

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