Educator Voice Opportunities: LEAD Fellowship, Education Leadership Institute
During the past five years, Stand Louisiana has provided educators with support and opportunities to influence policy related to teacher evaluations, teacher prep providers, early childhood education, and accountability. In the most recent legislative session, Stand Louisiana’s educator members held one-on-one meetings with their representatives, submitted virtual testimony to help successfully defeat attacks on accountability and high standards, and worked on op-eds in support of positive reforms.
Stand Louisiana’s LEAD (Louisiana Educator Advocacy Development) Fellowship offers educators a structured eight-month program that empowers participants to elevate their voices as advocates for all students. Fellowship participants study five areas of education policy, engage with local and state policy makers, and also earn professional development credits.
Stand Louisiana’s Education Leadership Institute (ELI) offers another opportunity for educators to engage with policy issues. Community and education leaders can apply to this program to expand their leadership and advocacy skills while learning more about school governance issues, school finance, community engagement, contemporary policy issues, and school supports. ELI currently offers cohorts in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
Our biggest accomplishments have been key policy victories around both our teacher preparation policies and our state ESSA plan. We worked with educators to both inform these policies as well as see them adopted by our Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. We advocated for a full-year teacher residency as the standard practice for pre-service teachers, giving them a full academic year of training with a highly-effective mentor teacher.
As part of the state ESSA plan, we advocated for raising the achievement expectation on annual assessments from “basic” to “mastery,” a balance of emphasis on both growth and achievement, a comprehensive inclusion of all special populations in the rating system, and an end to the current practice of curving school letter grades and the hold-harmless policies that kept many of our historically struggling schools at the bottom. We are currently working with our educators to monitor and influence the implementation of these policies.
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
Training and development are key components of any educator voice programming. We were very deliberate in the way we engaged educators around our different bodies of work, first providing high-quality professional development and then providing meaningful advocacy opportunities that ensured our educators felt that their contributions were authentic and impactful.
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.