Educator Voice Opportunities: Teacher Policy Teams, LEAP Fellowship
Educators for Excellence 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.
Educators for Excellence-Minnesota works with about 2,000 educators in the metro Twin Cities area. In 2016, E4E-MN released Ending Racial Discipline Disparities: An Educator’s Guide to School-Based Change, a policy paper that examines school discipline practices and outlines action steps for educators to better serve students of color. During the 2016-17 school year, teams of Minnesota educators implemented these actions steps and reflected on their experiences. Putting Plans into Action shares their obstacles and levers for success.
In past years, E4E-MN teacher teams have produced policy papers focusing on teacher preparation, teacher diversity, and teacher compensation. The final version of Minnesota’s 2017 education omnibus bill included several recommendations from these papers.
During Minnesota’s ESSA planning process, E4E-MN teachers provided feedback on early versions of the plan and held meetings with the state commissioner of education to share their suggestions.
The Leadership for Equity in Action Pipeline (LEAP) Program is a free, selective leadership development program aimed at equipping educators with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets to serve in elected or appointed office. The program is designed for current educators (teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators) who are interested in exploring the possibility of running for elected or appointed leadership positions in the future.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
I’m proud that not only have many of our educator members’ policy recommendations been passed into law, we have also seen the impact teachers can have at every level of decision-making when they uplift their voices. A number of our members have been elected or appointed into leadership roles in their unions, state-level committees, school leadership roles, and more. As they build their knowledge, skill, and comfort in advocating for their students and their profession, we have seen narratives and policy change for the better.
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
Educators often speak of the “pendulum swing” that takes place in schools where policies, initiatives, even leaders come and go. When engaging educators, it is important to acknowledge how and why these shifts have taken place. More importantly, my advice is to be committed to the more long-lasting, often more difficult work of culture change within our schools.
- LEAP Fellowship
- Our Students Can’t Wait: Ensuring Equitable Access To Funding and Resources
- Ending Racial Discipline Disparities: An Educator’s Guide to School-Based Change
- Closing Gaps: Diversifying Minnesota’s Teacher Workforce
- 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.