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Letter from State Teachers of the Year in Support of Full ESSA Title II Funding

June 7, 2018
Honorable Roy Blunt
Chair 
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education 
Senate Committee on Appropriations 
Washington, DC 20510
Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Washington, DC 20510 
Honorable Tom Cole 
Chair 
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education 
House Committee on Appropriations 
Washington, DC 20515 
Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education
House Committee on Appropriations
Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Blunt, Ranking Member Murray, Chairman Cole, and Ranking Member DeLauro,

We, the undersigned 51 State Teachers of the Year, believe that great teachers are made through careful and intentional development. We ourselves have become the teachers we are in this way; if our goal is to create the greatest possible teaching force, we must continue to fund opportunities for teachers to grow. Therefore, we are extremely dismayed that the Administration has requested no funding for FY19 for a program that is essential to school improvement and student success: The Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (Title IIA) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). As teachers who have been recognized by our states and nationally for our success in the classroom, we know firsthand that reducing investments in professional learning by $2.3 billion would be a step in the wrong direction. We, like the other 29,000 teachers associated with Teach Plus, understand that all students deserve to be taught by excellent teachers. Title IIA plays a key role in advancing this goal.

Title IIA can make a tremendous difference in reducing teacher turnover, equipping teachers for success, and – most importantly – improving results for students. For example, Title IIA can be used to:

  • Provide opportunities for a cadre of effective teachers to lead evidence-based professional development for their peers.
  • Expand career opportunities for teachers to advance in the profession and grow as leaders—such as through hybrid roles that allow teachers to serve as mentors or coaches to their peers—while remaining in the classroom.
  • Provide training and support for teacher leaders and school leaders who are part of instructional leadership teams.

According to Karin Chenoweth of the Education Trust: “The more we learn about schools and education, the more we realize how vital teachers’ and principals’ knowledge and skills are. After all, other professional fields, from medicine to engineering, ensure that their practitioners learn the latest, best research about how to improve their practice and provide them with time to practice and collaborate with colleagues. Teachers and principals should be afforded the same professional  opportunities. That way, America’s children can achieve at the highest levels. Right now, federal Title II dollars are the key to those opportunities.”

We believe that the Title II program is a critical component of the national effort to improve student outcomes as advanced by the Every Student Succeeds Act. Failing to fund it would be detrimental to our students, teachers, and schools. We ask that you support students and schools in your state in achieving at the highest levels by fully funding Title II.

Sincerely,
Dana Jacobson, Alabama State Teacher of the Year
James Harris, Alaska State Teacher of the Year
Michelle Doherty, Arizona State Teacher of the Year
Courtney Cochran, Arkansas State Teacher of the Year
Megan Gross, California State Teacher of the Year
Sean Wybrant, Colorado State Teacher of the Year
Gerard van Gils, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands State Teacher of the Year
Lauren Danner, Connecticut State Teacher of the Year
Wendy Turner, Delaware State Teacher of the Year
Beth Dewhurst, District of Columbia State Teacher of the Year
Jessica Solano, Florida State Teacher of the Year
Casey M. Bethel, Georgia State Teacher of the Year
Sung Park, Hawaii State Teacher of the Year
Mary Lynn Spiker, Idaho State Teacher of the Year
Mary Spiker, Idaho State Teacher of the Year
Ricardo Castro, Illinois State Teacher of the Year
Jitka Nelson, Indiana State Teacher of the Year
Jason Sickel, Kansas State Teacher of the Year
Ron Skillern, Kentucky State Teacher of the Year
Joni Smith, Louisiana State Teacher of the Year
Tamara Ranger, Maine State Teacher of the Year
Sia Kyriakakos, Maryland State Teacher of the Year
Sydney Chaffee, Massachusetts State Teacher of the Year
Tracy Horodyski, Michigan State Teacher of the Year
Jodi McKenzie, Mississippi State Teacher of the Year
Darbie Valenti, Missouri State Teacher of the Year
Linda Glasgow, Missouri State Teacher of the Year
Beth Davey, Missouri State Teacher of the Year
Kelly Elder, Montana State Teacher of the Year
Amber Vlasnik, Nebraska State Teacher of the Year
Pam Ertel, Nevada State Teacher of the Year
Tate Aldrich, New Hampshire State Teacher of the Year
Argine Safari, New Jersey State Teacher of the Year
Stephanie Gurule-Leyba, New Mexico State Teacher of the Year
Amy Hysick, New York State Teacher of the Year
Kelisa Wing, New York State Teacher of the Year
Bobbie Cavnar, North Carolina State Teacher of the Year
Nanci Dauwen, North Dakota State Teacher of the Year
Dustin Weaver, Ohio State Teacher of the Year
Gloria Pereyra-Robertson, Oregon State Teacher of the Year
Beth Kaltsulas, South Dakota State Teacher of the Year
Derek Voiles, Tennessee State Teacher of the Year
Dana Love-Ili, Territorial Teacher of the Year (American Samoa)
Allison Friedlander, Texas State Teacher of the Year
Valerie Gates, Utah State Teacher of the Year
Katherine McCann, Vermont State Teacher of the Year
Dr Toney L McNair Jr, Virginia State Teacher of the Year
Camille Jones, Washington State Teacher of the Year
Toni Poling, West Virginia State Teacher of the Year
Chris Gleason, Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year
Ryan Fuhrman, Wyoming State Teacher of the Year