Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action
Implementing Policy with (not to) Educators
Many states will be transitioning to new ESSA-aligned accountability systems over the next few years, and the way those accountability systems are presented to teachers could have a dramatic impact on how they are perceived in states. A new PIE Network resource offers lessons learned from successful implementation efforts, and a useful reminder of what many seasoned leaders know:
policy comes to life when educators become the loudest champions.
Educators did just that in both Tennessee and Louisiana in recent years, as each state transitioned to new assessments. By leveraging intentional partnerships with state education agencies, advocates and leaders worked with educators to engage them in the assessment rollout, curbing misinformation and lifting the veil from decision making. PIE Network’s new case studies detail how advocates’ partnership with SEAs resulted in both better support for educators, and broader support for the exams.
The case studies are based on interviews with SEA staff and leadership, Network advocates, and educators who were involved in the roll-out. Supporting Educators in Louisiana: A Campaign to Increase Educator Awareness and Support of LEAP shares the approach taken in the Bayou State to partner with a teacher leader cadre to support the roll-out, which was designed to be a rich professional learning experience for educators. Interviewees also shared key messages about the LEAP exam that helped educators and parents understand the value.
A Surround Sound Approach: Tennessee’s Campaign to Engage Teachers in TNReady also focuses on how professional development for educators impacted their perceptions of the state exam. Experts in the Volunteer State also stressed the need for transparency about the process to ensure educators know they are being supported.
As these education champions recounted their strategies and successes, two key recommendations emerged from both contexts:
- Center outreach on professional learning – both states worked to provide high-quality professional development to educators, diving into the details to show teachers how the results from the exam could be used to improve instruction and demonstrating the alignment to state standards.
- Leverage teacher networks to scale impact – Louisiana and Tennessee both identified teacher leaders who could carry the message back to their local communities, recognizing that peer-to-peer exchange would be more meaningful for educators who had not participated in the training.
Interested in connecting with advocates featured in these resources for even more information? Reach out.