Teacher Ariel Sacks blogs at the TLN website under the banner "On the Shoulders of Giants." In a recent post she identifies the top five reasons teachers avoid contact with education policy -- and refutes each one. Here's the first:
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Recently on the Teacher Leaders Network, I landed in a discussion about the many great teachers we know who, for a variety of reasons, stay far away from education policy. In this post, I'm trying to respond to what I see as the top five reasons teachers tend not to get involved.
One: It's not my job to be involved in education policy.
My Response: While it's not in our job description to be involved in education policy, it is in our best interest to voice our perspectives, because policies directly affect the conditions of our work, our ability to do our best for our students, and our willingness to stay in teaching.
Historically, teachers have been the recipients of policies written by outsiders, higher up on the ladder than we are. We experience the results of decisions and usually have plenty to say about how they play out in our schools. How many times have you issued some choice words about the latest education legislation at lunch with a group of colleagues? Why not hone that message and share it with a wider audience? Also, if the policy makers are at the top of the education pyramid, who does that leave at the bottom? Students and parents. And that's just not right. We need to challenge the current hierarchy so that the people who matter most in American public education, students, parents, and teachers, have a bigger voice. Teachers, especially, who are most directly responsible for the' education of students, need to be heard on the issues.