21 Oct Policy: Going Where Few Teachers Have Gone Before
As teachers, we often feel that the only way we can grow and progress in our profession is to move into school administration. For the teacher who loves to be in the classroom, this significantly narrows the career pathway. However, with new state and local education reform efforts, teachers are being offered a valuable professional growth opportunity—a seat at the table to talk about education with policy experts. These opportunities can arise through associations within a school or district or through national organizations such as Hope Street Group (HSG).
I am one of thirteen teachers from across the U.S. awarded a one year fellowship with HSG. This organization promotes the importance of involving teachers’ voices and supports us with training in how to better communicate our message to those involved with education policy at the state and national level.
I was able to experience firsthand, communicating with policymakers when the Teacher Fellows from Delaware were asked to host a webinar with our state’s U.S. Senator, Chris Coons. In preparation for this event, along with several other fellows, we drafted a policy brief for the Senator about an issue that is affecting many teachers in Delaware as well as nationally; measuring student growth for teacher evaluation in the non-tested grades and subjects.
Realizing that our perspective as teachers is valuable, it is also limited, so arrangements were made to collaborate with people from DE DOE, Hope Street Group (HSG), and Senator Coons office to discuss this important topic. HSG assisted us with our research and drafting a concise brief that explained the difficulty and complicity of this issue. While seeking the latest information on this subject, I was invited to join in on a conference call with representatives from DE DOE and HSG to ask clarifying questions. The information gained from this collaborative effort, enabled us to put together a more up-to-date and accurate policy brief for the Senator.
DE teachers would like to thank Senator Coons for his interest in education and taking the time to answer some of our questions!