More Teacher Voices Are Making Themselves Heard

So the blogger Eduwonk has noticed that more teacher voices are making themselves heard — through advocacy groups like Educators 4 Excellence. You or I might not agree with all of the stands that they take, but these are teachers speaking up, 7500 in all, in Los Angeles, Minnesota, and New York. They form teams to study issues and write recommendation reports on them, in each of their areas. Eduwonk especially appreciates that these teachers are busy proposing solutions to education challenges — as compared to the politicians who make policies without consulting teachers who have expertise on the issues, and then rescind them in mid-flight, or fail to come to agreements to achieve anything at all.

So take a hint! contact E4E about creating a chapter in your community. Or start pulling together a teachers’ education policy group of your own. Yeah, it takes work. But public education needs SOMEONE — lots of us, really — to speak for it.

And thanks to Marilyn Hollman for reminding me about this group and noticing the Eduwonk post.


3 Comments to “More Teacher Voices Are Making Themselves Heard”

  1. I love reading this blog because the focus is on teachers and what teachers can do to elevate our profession and support public education but this post about E4E is disappointing. I don’t think that just because teachers are doing it means that it’s worthy of support. Have you actually read the declaration this group is promoting? Value added evaluations, performance-based pay? Some of what they’re proposing sounds great – more PD, higher pay for teachers, higher starting salary, including parents and teachers in the conversation – but I would be careful. This is a mixed bag. It’s not clear which direction they are really going to go. One of the co-founders and co-chief executive officers (grandiose title!) is a former TfA’er and although that doesn’t necessarily discredit her, it makes her circumspect in my book. TfA does a great job of brainwashing their recruits and it is rare to find someone actually questioning the status quo. Usually, they’re looking out for themselves. In conclusion, just because a teacher is speaking up doesn’t mean what s/he is saying is what we want to support.

    • szemelman says:

      I hear you. That’s why I stated that we won’t all agree with all the stances taken by E4E. The thing is that they HAVE organized a large number of teachers around policy issues, which so many of us who are concerned about the attacks on public education have not succeeded in doing. Further, once more teachers are speaking up, they WILL disagree on various issues.

      I’ve mostly focused on teachers telling the stories of their powerful work in classrooms, rather than the specific issues. I’m hoping that will build support for teachers & public ed. It’s hard to get people to do that though. Everyone likes a hot argument. In fact, look at how my post got you to write! You read my blog, but I don’t get to find out, and I wish I were getting more responses. It gets kind of lonely. Maybe I need to start making extreme statements myself!

      Anyway, thanks for your helpful observations.

      –Steve Z

      • Hi Steve,
        Thanks for responding to my comment. Maybe you should post on more controversial moves that teachers are making and generate more comments here! I hear what you’re saying about this group but it is a mixed bag for me. I can’t support them JUST because they’re mobilizing lots of teachers. Maybe instead we can look at what they’re doing to see what is garnering them so much success. I think one thing they’re doing differently is focusing on policy and getting teachers involved in looking at policies, analyzing them and giving their perspective about what’s going on. At least, that’s what I think they’re doing. That is actually a good thing. Maybe that’s one positive thing teachers can do. There is another thing that bothers me about this group and that is that some of their “demands”, if we can call them that, are specifically focused on teachers new to the profession which smacks of TfA and their belief that young graduates from Ivy League colleges are better suited to change education than are more experienced teachers. This is happening in places like Chicago where thousands of experienced teachers are being fired due to a budget crisis and are being replaced by TfA recruits that are not cheaper by any means than simply keeping the teachers that are being let go. Can you tell this is a hot topic for me?

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