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Teach Plus Online

Teach Plus Online:  What Teachers Need to Know to Influence Policy Decisions 

Education policy happens at the local, state, and federal level, yet teachers are rarely at the table. Policymakers need and want to hear from teachers – yet too often policies that directly affect teachers and their students are made without teacher input. How can you as a teacher have a say in shaping policy?

To ensure that the voice of teachers is heard by policymakers, we are launching a new online course, Teach Plus Online: What Teachers Need to Know to Influence Policy Decisions. The course is FREE and open to teachers nationwide.

The five-part course is the online version of a key portion of our flagship policy program, the Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship. Through the Teaching Policy Fellowship, we have trained over 1,000 teachers across the nation to develop their voice, deepen their advocacy skills, and influence policy. The training works: our Fellows have led the charge locally, advocated before state legislatures, and testified before Congress

An Opportunity for Teachers to Help Guide ESSA Implementation 

In December 2015, president Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA, which replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB), gives greater authority and responsibility for educating students to states, districts, and schools. 

With ESSA, teachers have an unprecedented opportunity to have their voices heard in policy development. Teach Plus Online trains teachers to advocate for impact as ESSA is implemented in every state across the nation.  Teachers who understand how policy and advocacy work can help guide decision-making – so that the new law is good for all students.


Course Content

  • Teachers as Policy Influencers:  What are the pathways for teacher impact in policy and what does it take for teachers to become bilingual in practice and policy? Understand the obstacles to making change and the strategies to succeed.

  • Policy 101:  What is policy, and how is it made and changed? Who makes it, and how can teachers play a role in shaping it? Explore why policy matters and what levers teachers have to influence policy.

  • Storytelling for Impact:  How can teachers develop the voice needed to influence policy? Learn the power of storytelling and public narrative as tools for effective advocacy.

  • Advocacy 101:  How do teachers make things happen in the complex world of policy and politics? Understand the importance of goals, relationships, root cause analysis, and power mapping.

  • Every Student Succeeds Act:  How will the law affect assessment, accountability, resource equity, and teacher leadership in states and districts? Learn what the law says and how to get involved in your community.

  • From the Source: Conversations with Policymakers and Policy Influencers:  Why is it important for teachers to meet with policymakers? What's the best way for a teacher to have an impact during a meeting? In this series, we present policymaker perspectives that get to the heart of how education policy is made and teachers' role in shaping it.

Watch an exclusive interview with former Representative George Miller.  Rep. Miller, a 40-year veteran of Congress, served as the chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and co-authored many key pieces of education legislation.


How the Course Works

  • Watch short video segments (about 5 minutes each) interspersed with activities

  • Practice through assessments and checks for understanding

  • Decide how much time you need - the course is self-paced


About the InstructorSteve Robinson

Steve Robinson has spent his career at the intersection of practice and policy.  A former Senior Policy Fellow and current Teacher-in-Residence with Teach Plus, Steve served for four years in the Executive Office of The President as a Special Assistant on the White House Domestic Policy Council, where he focused on K-12 education policy issues. He left the White House to teach 11th grade physics at Democracy Prep Charter High School in Harlem. 

Steve has served as Special Advisor to Secretary Arne Duncan, as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and advised on education policy development during the 2008 Presidential campaign. He has taught middle school and high school in Oregon, and was an assistant professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, where he headed a research lab and taught and mentored undergraduates and graduate students. 

Special guests:  Teach Plus Founder and CEO Celine Coggins, and Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows and alumni

Sign up now and get started!