Educator Voice Opportunities: Teacher Policy Teams
Educators for Excellence (E4E) works to ensure that the voices of classroom teachers are included in the decisions that affect their profession and students. E4E teachers take action in three main ways: advocating for teacher leadership and collaboration at their schools, pushing for policies at the district and state level that include E4E teacher-created recommendations, and getting involved with their unions to ensure their opinions are represented.
E4E-Connecticut’s One State, One Future campaign seeks to shift how our state funds public schools in order to better serve the needs of all students. E4E-Connecticut teachers authored a policy paper by the same name, in which they advocated for the consolidating of the state’s 11 funding formulas into one comprehensive, evidence-based, and equitable formula. This year, our members will continue to advocate for action on the school funding formula in a variety of ways, including launching a new team of educators who will begin drafting a brief using teachers stories from the classroom to illustrate the urgent need for more equitable funding. In addition, E4E-Connecticut teachers will identify another issue impacting their students and their careers and begin the work of researching that topic and crafting solutions.
Other recent E4E-Connecticut policy papers have tackled issues that include serving unique student populations, school climate, and professional development.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
We believe that our greatest accomplishment has been elevating teacher voice to key decision-makers. As Connecticut seeks to design a more equitable and transparent school funding formula, our teachers have been instrumental in shaping the debate. E4E-Connecticut members have met with state legislators, organized a postcard-writing campaign, and started a dialogue with the state education commissioner. This year, a teacher member sat on a panel with former U.S. Secretary of Education John King to discuss equity in education. Not only are teachers empowered to advocate for their students and themselves, but they provide decision-makers with a window into the realities of the classroom to create better policy solutions.
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
One of the biggest challenges is that educators are already busy with full-time, demanding jobs. When not teaching, planning, grading, or spending time with their families, they have a limited time to dedicate towards advocacy work. Organizations looking to engage educators need to create opportunities of varying time commitment and topics to match the different schedules and interests of teachers. In addition, we need to be flexible in order to meet teachers where they are. This may mean coming to their schools, meeting outside of the nine-to-five work hours, and offering remote opportunities.
- Students Today, Educators Tomorrow
- One State, One Future campaign
- Success for All: Ensuring Academic Outcomes for Unique Student Populations in Hartford Public Schools
- It Takes a Village: Improving School Climate and Student Discipline in New Haven Public Schools
- Policy Papers archive
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.