We believe that in order to influence their state’s education policies, teachers must be in the rooms with policymakers engaged in conversations about their students’ and their own lived experiences, their challenges, and the solutions.
In our Policy Fellowships, we empower Teach Plus teacher leaders’ engagement by developing their skills in policy, advocacy, research, and communications and collaborating with them to craft actionable recommendations.
Teach Plus teacher leaders across our 12 regions play a pivotal role in both informing the policies that shape their students’ success and transforming the teaching profession. From California to Mississippi to Texas to Massachusetts, Teach Plus and Teach Plus teacher leaders are building policy and systemic response to COVID-19; advocating for policies that recruit, prepare, and retain a teaching force that looks like America’s students; shaping legislation to improve teacher preparation and licensure; and working to improve quality access to early childhood education. In hundreds of op-eds, Teach Plus teacher leaders continue to use their voice on issues that impact equity for the students in their state.
We advocated for the state to explore a range of recruitment, development, and retention strategies to expand the teacher workforce. Teach Plus teacher leaders’ advocacy helped to secure nearly $90 million in competitive grant funds for candidates to enter the teaching force and teach in shortage fields and priority schools. The teachers also helped to secure $38 million to support professional development for teachers to serve emergent bilingual students, including $10 million to implement the California English Learner Roadmap Policy, as well as training on implicit bias, social and emotional learning strategies, and trauma-informed practices.
We helped to develop and ensure passage of the new Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards, which the Illinois State Board of Education has adopted to prepare future educators to teach diverse students. Moving forward, educator preparation programs throughout the state will integrate these new standards into the courses, content, and clinical experiences used to prepare the next generation of Illinois’ teachers.
We elevated the fact of the disastrously low pay for educators in the state and pressured legislators to approve a teacher wage increase. In 2021, Governor Tate Reeves signed legislation that gives teachers an annual pay raise of up to $1,100. Teach Plus teacher leaders are continuing to advocate for additional pay increases to ensure that being a teacher in Mississippi is a viable option.
Our advocacy campaign, conducted with a statewide coalition, resulted in the largest education funding increase in the commonwealth’s history. The budget, which Governor Tom Wolf signed into law in 2021, provides an increase of $200 million spread across all 500 school districts in addition to $100 million specifically directed towards supplementing the 100 most under-resourced school districts.
We influenced the passage of a historic school finance bill, HB 3, that invests 6.5 billion new dollars in education. The 2019 bill expands full-day preschool, provides new options for teacher advancement and compensation, provides for nearly $1 billion in targeted resources for the state’s highest-need students, prioritizes early literacy, and adds an additional $1,000 per student in every Texas school. Teach Plus teacher leaders testified, met with legislators, hosted legislative briefings, authored op-eds, talked with the media—and saw every single one of their priorities enacted into law.