Feb 24, 2012

Empowering Teachers To Drive Change (Change They Don't Want, Need Or Condone)

Abby Parker was a teacher in Baltimore and education program manager for both non-profit and government agencies in Washington, DC, before joining StudentsFirst last May. In her current role as National Manager, Teacher Outreach she works with teachers across the country who want to advocate for change. 

Most teachers across the country have concerns about the state of education today. They are troubled with the injustice they see between different schools in the state. They are bothered by the information or lack of information they receive from the district. They need more meaningful support and professional development to improve. They want to be engaged in the changes taking place. As StudentsFirst’s National Manager of Teacher Outreach, I have the privilege of working with teachers all over the country and I know that teachers have powerful feedback and solutions to the current problems.

Teacher voices are key to meaningful change. From Michigan to Pennsylvania to California to Minnesota, I am humbled by the commitment of teachers I work with who spend time after a long day in the classroom to help tackle the problems they see with education today. Despite the daily challenges, from lack of supplies to managing classroom behavior, and handling relationships with parents and administrators, these teachers are discussing and advocating for real solutions to improve our schools. They are seeking, developing and leading opportunities to be involved in a student-centered movement that promotes excellent teaching and elevates the profession.

This level of interest and commitment has encouraged us at StudentsFirst to start teacher networks. Led primarily by teacher leaders and engaged teacher members across the country, the networks provide opportunities for teachers to connect with others that feel the same way, learn more about local and state issues, share information about state advocacy efforts, address issues they have experienced for years, and create actionable next steps. These teachers are advocates for students, schools, and the communities they serve. The potential of this network across the country, the impact it could have on students, is truly mind-blowing. We hope to empower these teachers with tools and opportunities to lead the discussion and advocate for policies that will ensure a quality education for every child.

The connection I see, between all of the teachers involved, is not only an unwavering belief that all students have enormous potential, but also a deep dissatisfaction with the current system, and a desire to do something to change it.

If you are one of these teachers, I hope you will reach out and join us.

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