Bryan and Emily Hassel, of Public Impact have written,“North Carolina will never make the educational strides it needs until the best educators have far greater impact, for a lot more pay.”
…a robust network of highly regarded educators who work collaboratively with their colleagues to initiate continuous feedback and mutual trust among and between teachers and state policymakers…
What is also necessary for that greater impact is a robust network of highly regarded educators who work collaboratively with their colleagues to initiate continuous feedback and mutual trust among and between teachers and state policymakers in North Carolina.
Accordingly, Hope Street Group’s State Teacher Voice Network intentionally facilitates feedback and endeavors to build trust between teachers and policymakers. Through ongoing training, peer-to-peer leadership and dialogue with policymakers, the Teacher Voice Network amplifies teacher voice to impact policy and improve teaching and learning conditions for teachers.
The Teacher Voice Network in North Carolina follows successful models in Hawaii and Kentucky, where teachers have participated in a wide variety of training opportunities to broaden their understanding of state reform efforts, learn skills to help them engage with the media, and receive ongoing support in writing blog posts, op-eds, and letters to the editor in newspapers across the state. They meet directly with state policymakers to share the perspectives of educators and to present teacher-generated solutions to the myriad of challenges teachers face every day in their classrooms and school communities. They also participate in state and national events for teachers engaged in similar work in other states and school districts across the country.
Elevating teacher voice to policymakers through these learned skills is critical.
The Teacher Voice Network is in place to help North Carolina teachers, state agencies, and policymakers make decisions about education policies with teacher input and teacher-generated ideas. It is also key that teachers are lifting up their voice to each other by letting peers know their opinions are valued, sharing opportunities to provide input, and inspiring confidence in a systems approach to information sharing. In addition to teacher training, the Teacher Voice Network provides the structure and management for such exchanges, creating a sustainable and impactful framework for educator leadership.
…teacher voice will become an essential component for policymaking at the national, state, and local levels.
As the Teacher Voice Network matures, the learnings, stories, and information will be shared beyond the education community to solidify the value of teacher voice to the process of developing and implementing policy. As more stakeholders trust and turn to the direct input of educators in their decision-making and understand the impact of their involvement, teacher voice will become an essential component for policymaking at the national, state, and local levels.