Educator Voice Opportunities: Massachusetts Teaching Policy Fellowship
Teach Plus engages excellent, experienced teachers in both policy and practice, running fellowships designed to help teachers develop policy recommendations and advocacy steps on issues critical to the profession and equitable educational opportunities for students from low-income families.
Teach Plus Massachusetts’ current initiatives include the Commonwealth Teaching Policy Fellowship and the Boston Educators Collaborative TLPL instructional practice program that brings together teachers from district, charter, and Catholic schools. Since the inaugural cohort of Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows launched in Boston in 2009, more than 1,300 Massachusetts educators have taken part in Teach Plus Massachusetts’ policy fellowships and practice programs.
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, Massachusetts Teaching Policy Fellows have met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, and engaged with former Commissioner Mitchell Chester and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as well as other state education and political leaders.
What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?
Over the past ten years, we have been able to position our fellows and alumni in highly impactful opportunities to use their training and expertise with key decision makers on critical policy issues. At the federal level, our teachers played an important role in the reauthorization of ESEA, from meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office to discuss the proper role of assessment, to working with Senators to include teacher leadership provisions. At the state level in the past year, our teachers have played a leading role in passing a new funding formula in Illinois, reforming teacher evaluations in New Mexico, and in sponsoring legislation in California to strengthen teacher tenure provisions.
What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?
The history of education policy and politics has countless examples of promising reforms coming and going, in so many cases because our best teachers were not at the table. We believe that any good piece of policy or policy-making in education must include educators and that those educators must be prepared to make decisions that connect systems-level thinking with school-level impact. Engage these educators early on and throughout the process as co-developers and advocacy leaders.
- The Every Student Succeeds Act: Accountability in Massachusetts
- 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.