Educator Voice Opportunities: Colorado Teaching Policy Fellowship
Teach Plus engages a diverse group of excellent teachers in both policy and practice, running fellowships designed to help teachers develop policy recommendations and advocacy strategies on issues critical to the profession and equitable educational opportunities for students from low-income families.
Teach Plus Colorado’s flagship initiative is the Colorado Teaching Policy Fellowship, which focuses on statewide policy issues. More than 30 Colorado educators have taken part in Teach Plus Colorado’s policy programs since 2016.
The Teaching Policy Fellowship is a highly selective program that offers excellent teachers the opportunity to expand their influence and advocate for changes that improve student outcomes across the education system. Fellows engage with key education stakeholders and policymakers in addition to receiving extensive training in policy, advocacy, and storytelling. In recent years, Colorado Teaching Policy Fellows have produced policy briefs, worked with legislators writing bills on teacher leadership, principal training, teacher residencies, and PreK-2nd grade discipline. They have testified before the education committees of the Colorado Legislature as well as the Interim Committee on School funding. In 2016, Fellows were instrumental in creating the Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet. Fellows have created alliances with key organizations to build coalitions around issues of equity. Fellows have continued their leadership work by being to elected association positions; they have created leadership positions within their districts in collaboration with their superintendents.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
Through our policy work in Colorado, we have positioned ourselves as an organization that can work across political divides by maintaining a sharp focus on equity and the profession. Our Fellows are seen as well-informed, solutions-oriented professionals who are able to navigate the policy world. This past session we were able to help write and pass legislation that addressed teacher recruitment and retention. Our Fellows created resources and presented to over 200 hundred teachers on school funding to ensure education practitioners can adequately advocate for equitable funding.
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
Engaging practitioners is key to ensuring the creation, implementation, and sustainability of education policy is successful and effective. Providing opportunities for teachers to understand the policy and political process, and to let them co-create is key to success.
Is there anything else you think we should know?
Most of the Fellows want to continue to work in the policy world while staying in the classroom after their fellowship. We need to create and provide more opportunities for teachers to be at the policy table without having to leave the classroom.
- Selecting ESSA’s Fifth Indicator for Colorado Teachers and Students
- Teacher Voices archive
- Teach Plus Online Course: What Teachers Need to Know to Influence Policy Decisions
The topics below represent this member’s recent priorities, as they’ve reported through the annual PIE Network legislative and policy survey. If no priorities are listed, this member is new to the Network and/or has not yet participated in this survey. For much greater detail about all PIE Network members’ recent campaigns, members can access the PIE Network Policy Map here. If you have questions on the PIE Network legislative and policy survey or the Policy Map, contact Lukas.