Teach Plus Illinois offers Teaching Policy Fellowships to outstanding teachers in the state looking to deepen their knowledge of education policy and gain a voice in decisions that directly affect students and the teaching profession.
Launched in 2011, the Chicago Teaching Policy Fellowship offers excellent teachers an unprecedented opportunity to influence key education policy issues.
Our newly-launched Illinois Teaching Policy Fellowship trains teachers to engage with state legislators and advocate for change at the state level.
The Fellowship Experience
The Policy Fellowship brings together highly-qualified current classroom teachers in monthly in-person or virtual meetings to focus on the following:
- Education Policy Training: All Fellowship meetings include a policy training module presented by an expert in the field. Topics include:
- Education policy as a lever for student success
- Advocacy, including op-ed writing, testifying, and speaking with elected officials and members of the media
- Current and relevant issues in education policy, including assessments, teacher evaluation, school funding, and curriculum
- Direct Engagement with Key Education Policy Makers: Fellowship meetings typically include a discussion with a leading policy maker. In the past, Fellows have met with:
- Forrest Claypool, CEO of Chicago Public Schools
- Jo Anderson, Executive Director of Consortium for Educational Change, formerly Executive Director of the Illinois Education Association and Senior Advisor to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
- Jason Helfer, Deputy Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education
- Will Guzzardi, IL Representative, 39th District, member of House Education Committee
- Development/Advocacy of Education Policy: Fellows work in small groups to shape and develop education policy that elevates the teaching profession and meets the needs of their students. In the past, groups of Fellows have worked on issues including accountability under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); teacher evaluation; and the Common Core and the PARCC assessment, among others.
About Our Policy Fellows
Chicago Fellows have been active in elevating teacher voice around teacher evaluation and Common Core. They have authored numerous op-eds that have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, and Catalyst Chicago, among others. Fellows have also participated in several national convenings and teacher working groups.
Since 2011, Chicago and Illinois Policy Fellows have successfully:
- Contributed to the development of Illinois’ ESSA plan through a policy brief, the testimony of 10 teachers at Illinois’ ESSA hearings, participation in the state accountability working groups, and through focus that engaged 350 teachers statewide on accountability and professional development.
- Advocated at the Federal level for inclusion of teacher leadership opportunities and assessments in ESSA, through testimony of six teachers who traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak with senators, representatives and their staff.
- Led a series of teacher voice conferences on next-generation assessments, allowing teachers to provide critical input and develop advocacy opportunities around this issue.
- Partnered with both Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) to lead “Collaborate Chicago,” a teacher-led Common Core conference that brought together more than 1,500 teachers.
- Participated in the CTU team that negotiated the terms of REACH, Chicago's Teacher Evaluation system.