Center For American Progress Highlights Teach Plus As Largest Teacher-Voice Organization In The Country

Center For American Progress Highlights Teach Plus As Largest Teacher-Voice Organization In The Country

Washington, DC – A report released today by the Center for American Progress examines the growing presence of teacher-voice organizations and their impact on elevating the teaching profession. The report, New Organizations, New Voices: The Landscape of Today’s Teachers Shaping Policy, profiles Teach Plus along with four others, and notes that while Teach Plus is not the oldest teacher-voice organization in the nation, it is now the largest.

Teach Plus Founder and CEO Celine Coggins said it is exciting to be part of a growing legion of organizations working to elevate the teaching profession. “Five years ago when I started this work, three critical ideas were untested: did the incoming generation of teachers want a voice in policy? Would their ideas differ from their more senior peers? And could their ideas be advanced to actually change policies that affect teachers and students?” said Coggins. “We’re proud to have led the way in demonstrating that the answer to all three questions is yes, and are thrilled to have likeminded organizations that are partners in this work.”

The report recognizes Teach Plus for leadership that has proven “successful at convening decision makers who otherwise were in a stalemate,” noting that the Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows who organized a Common Core conference last year brought together Jean-Claude Brizard, then-CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis for their only joint appearance last summer before the 2012 teachers’ strike.

The report also features Teach Plus’s success in bringing teacher voice to the media, noting the organization’s 210 media placements in 2012—largely teacher-written op-eds published in the Washington Post, USA Today and other national outlets on topics ranging from teacher retention to union engagement. It also previews a forthcoming book featuring chapters written by 17 outstanding Teach Plus-affiliated teachers, to be published this fall by Harvard Education Publishing Group.

Other recent accomplishments by teachers in Teach Plus teacher leadership programs include testifying before Congress and in state legislatures, hosting Common Core conferences by and for teachers, and helping design new teacher evaluation systems.

For example, Indianapolis Teaching Policy Fellow Emanuel Harper recently testified on teacher evaluation before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, and16 members of the Teach Plus Network testified before the Indiana State Senate and House of Representatives in support of the Common Core. Conferences organized by Teaching Policy Fellows have provided more than 5,000 teachers nationwide with teacher-led professional development on the Common Core.

At today’s report launch in Washington, DC, Teach Plus Vice President for Policy Alice Johnson Cain spoke of Teach Plus teachers’ impact on policy. “We’ve seen firsthand the incredible power of teacher voice through our work across six cities,” said Cain. “Whether these teachers are changing LIFO in Indiana, creating a successful new turnaround model in Boston, or initiating petition initiatives to make change within their unions, Teach Plus teachers have proven again and again that they are effective drivers of important and lasting change on behalf of the students they teach.”

The report also profiles the Center for Teaching Quality, Educators 4 Excellence, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, VIVA Teachers and three additional fellowships for teachers.