Although I look askance at most things with which Michelle Rhee is associated, I want to point out TNTP's awesome Fishman Prize. Five $25,000 awards go to stellar teachers who then spend their summer writing a lengthy paper about a given educational topic. The application criteria says nothing about value-added or standardized tests. They look for teachers who have "a passion for teaching and a deep commitment to advancing the teaching profession."
We need more programs like this prize. We need to not just celebrate teachers, but also cheerlead for our profession (and, ultimately, our kids). Make it clear that those summers "off" are spent thinking deeply about our practice And we need to, well, show our work.