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.
In the city where Educators for Excellence started, educators are working through E4E to increase equity for students in the nation’s largest school system. Their most recent campaign involved advocating for the Board of Regents to include school climate as a school quality indicator in the state’s ESSA plan.
Other recent policy papers produced by E4E-New York teacher teams have covered the Community Schools model, due process and tenure, Common Core implementation for unique student populations, and many more topics.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
Our members have really moved the ball forward over the past few years to ensure school climate is a priority in our city and state. Thanks in part to the advocacy of E4E members around recommendations put forth in our chapter’s 2015 policy paper, Climate Change: Creating Safe, Supportive Schools for All Students, the Mayor’s team and the New York City Department of Education proposed actions to significantly reduce suspensions for students in grades K-2, start a process for school communities to remove metal detectors, and regularly release data relating to suspensions, expulsions, and arrests, broken down by school. At the state level, E4E-New York ensured the voices of members were incorporated in the state’s ESSA plan, collecting more than 1,000 surveys from educators and encouraging them to comment publicly on the state’s draft plan, as well as sign on to an E4E letter to the Regents. This campaign ultimately contributed to school climate measures, such as chronic absenteeism and school suspension and expulsion data, being included as accountability measures in the state’s ESSA plan.
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
First, know your people. Similar to any organizing work, it’s essential to understand the motivations and skills of your constituents in order to provide them with exciting opportunities that align with their strengths or preferred areas of growth. Teachers want their voices heard and to play a role in the decisions that affect their classrooms. It is our job to make this advocacy as accessible as possible by presenting opportunities aligned with their interests and building their competencies to advocate effectively.
And second, educators see it all. They work with students with diverse needs and from an ever-wider range of backgrounds, so they see firsthand the very real ways in which policies impact students and their families–even those not exclusively focused on education.
- Ready for Day One and Beyond
- New York Educators Call On Regents to Include School Climate in ESSA
- All In: Creating a Culture of Support
- Climate Change: Creating Safe, Supportive Schools for All Students
- 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.