Stone: Mistake To Try & Dismiss New Teacher Leader Groups
What Richard Colvin’s piece. “Taking Back Teaching” made clear is that all across the country teachers want to be more involved in the policy decisions that affect their classrooms and career. That was the impetus for us starting Educators 4 Excellence nearly three years ago—a group of like minded teachers got together to advocate for the changes we believe will help elevate our profession and improve outcomes for our students. Since then, more than 8,000 teachers across the country have signed on to our Declaration of Principles and Beliefs. At the same time, we recognize that we don’t represent the viewpoints of all teachers – that was never our intention— but rather we are a movement of teachers who have agreed on a common stating point, a direction and a set of norms for debate.
Our declaration is a broad set of ideas that ground our work in three key areas: elevating the profession, focusing on student achievement, and recruiting, retaining, and supporting effective teachers. These are not radical ideas and they should not be controversial.
E4E's membership is diverse. Over a quarter of our members have more than ten years of experience. We are pushing for a system that empowers teachers and schools to have the flexibility and the resources necessary to give their students what they need. We have fought for teacher-led schools in Los Angeles, leadership pathways in New York City and more revenue in both California and New York. We believe in local collective bargaining and see the union as critical to improving education.
E4E is not alone in this work. There are a number of organizations working to give teachers a more prominent voice - some that agree with our declaration and others that do not. This is a good thing. We need more of these conversations, more teacher leaders, and, above all, a more thoughtful debate about how we can give teachers the respect they deserve and help them do a better job serving their students.