Teach Plus teacher leaders gathered in the nation’s capital to advocate for enhanced school funding and comprehensive educator workforce data

Teach Plus teacher leaders gathered in the nation’s capital to advocate for enhanced school funding and comprehensive educator workforce data

Washington, D.C., May 15, 2024—Twelve Teach Plus educators from around the country journeyed to the nation’s capital during Teacher Appreciation Week and met with 59 lawmakers over two days, advocating for robust funding for the Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive Grant, which was cut by two-thirds and will affect more than 100 U.S. school districts’ ability to expand teacher leadership opportunities. The educators, who are part of the Teach Plus National Policy Advisory Board and teach in classrooms across the K-12 landscape, also shared their personal experiences and student stories related to the Strengthening Educator Workforce Data Act, which would establish a permanent, national mechanism to collect teacher and principal data at the school district level to assist in recruitment and retention of educators. 

Last week, the educators, who are part of the nonpartisan NPAB that informs Teach Plus policy decisions at the federal level, spent time meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as well as sat down with  U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Majority Whip, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. 

“This past Teacher Appreciation Week, I had the privilege to sit down with Teach Plus teachers and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. I saw the brilliance of teachers who were well-prepared to discuss policy and share the experiences of their students and colleagues. I want to thank Secretary Cardona, who took the time to intentionally listen to some of the brightest teachers in this nation. I am proud to see our teachers in action and confident in the expertise that Teach Plus teacher leaders bring to any table where decisions about students are made,” said Teach Plus CEO Kira Orange Jones.

The educators in Washington, D.C., were:

  • Arkansas: Senior Board Member Alumna Perla Andrade, Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellowship alumna and assistant principal in Little Rock
  • California: Board Member Tess Carlson, Knowles Teaching Fellow and founding science teacher at Mission Bay Hub in San Francisco
  • Colorado: Board member Lorelei Jackson, 2021-2022 Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow and middle school mathematics interventionist in Denver
  • Illinois: Board Member Emily Gasca, 2023-2024 Teach Plus Illinois Senior Change Agent leading the Early Childhood team, and a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) lead and bilingual reading interventionist for grades K-8th at Sadlowski Elementary School in Chicago
  • Indiana: Board Member Steve Dull, 2022-23 Indiana Teach Plus Policy Fellow and geometry and algebra educator in Hammond
  • Massachusetts: Board Member Ralph Saint-Louis, 2023-2024 Teach Plus Massachusetts Senior Policy Fellow and biology and chemistry teacher in Lowell
  • Michigan: Executive Board Member Frances Lazette, 2021-2022 Michigan Collaborative Teacher Leader, 2023 Teach Plus National Policy Advisory Board Senior Fellow, and French and individuals societies middle school educator in Ann Arbor
  • Mississippi: Board Member Barquita Stanton, Teach Plus Mississippi SEL Change Agent alumna and 4th-grade teacher at Johnson Elementary School in Jackson
  • Nevada: Board Member Emma Muth, 2nd grade educator and Grade Level Chair in Las Vegas
  • New Mexico: Executive Board Member Alisa Cooper de Uribe, 2023-2024 Teach Plus New Mexico Alumni Policy Fellow, 2023 Teach Plus National Policy Advisory Board Senior Fellow, 2021 New Mexico Teacher of the Year, and 1st-grade bilingual educator in Albuquerque
  • Pennsylvania: Senior Board Member Laura Sosik, 2021-2022 Teach Plus Pennsylvania Policy Fellow and 2nd grade educator in Scranton
  • Texas: Board Member Melina Recio, 2021-2022 Teach Plus Texas Senior Policy Fellow and 10th grade English and AP language & composition educator in McAllen

“There are nearly 400,000 teachers and more than five million K-12 students in Texas. Being able to represent my massive state and our diverse interests is a huge privilege and responsibility that is not lost on me,” said Melina Recio of Texas. “Meeting with lawmakers in D.C. to collaborate around the needs, opportunities, and hopes of teachers and students across the nation was such a memorable experience. Sitting down with senior leadership on Capitol Hill was truly a dream come true for me.”

“I am beyond grateful to have participated in this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week on Capitol Hill. It was a privilege to engage in educational policy conversations with Dr. Miguel Cardona alongside my phenomenal colleagues from across the country,” said Frances Lazette of Michigan. “My participation in the National Policy Advisory Board has taught me the advocacy skills I need to show I am an expert in the room and how essential it is for teacher voices to be present in the spaces where education policy is made.” 

Since January, the 13-member NPAB has talked with members of Congress and supported legislation that advances equity-driven education change, including the Teachers LEAD Act.  In 2023, the 22-member NPAB met with more than 60 U.S. senators or representatives and their staff, federal agency officials, and Secretary Cardona to brainstorm solutions to develop and strengthen the teacher workforce. Last summer, they authored a report titled Developing and Strengthening the Educator Workforce, advocating for legislation to address the nationwide educator shortage. The teacher leaders receive one-on-one coaching to deepen their knowledge of federal policy and build advocacy skills in order to create strong relationships with their congressional representatives. 

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. In pursuing our mission, Teach Plus is guided by our Student Opportunity Mandate: All students should have the opportunity to achieve their potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for postsecondary success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning for students. Teachplus.org

Teach Plus teacher leaders met with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.