As a growing network of advocates recognizes the immense value of incorporating educators in the policymaking process, the landscape of opportunities for educators to share their perspectives is expanding and diversifying.
In a new Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network report, advocates working across 29 states provided details on the educator voice opportunities they’ve built, ranging from policy fellowships and advisory councils to grassroots organizing and programs for Black male educators. Advocates also shared insight into the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Based on their reflections, here are advocates’ top five tips for successfully engaging educators in advocacy:
- Involve Educators from the Start – No matter the topic, it’s most effective to engage with educators from the very beginning of the policymaking process.
- Build on Potential – With just a little support and access to effective tools, the expertise of educators can be translated into significant improvements in policy and implementation.
- Provide Time to Grow – Building strong relationships with educators over time is important. This may mean extending the length of fellowship programs or encouraging participants to continue serving on councils for as many terms as they would like.
- Plan Focused Support – Sharpening educators’ skillsets around strategic communication, policy knowledge, and data literacy can make advocacy work accessible, as well as set up educators to be self-sustained advocates after fellowships or council terms end.
- Be Intentional – It’s important to carefully build the right spaces to support authentic educator engagement. One potential solution is to offer opportunities with varying time commitments and flexible locations — including, if possible, remote opportunities.
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