Episode 008 – Collaborating With Education Policy Makers
2014 Arizona Teacher of the Year
On the program this week, Teachers of the Year Radio welcomes Beth Maloney, the 2014 Arizona Teacher of the Year. Beth is a 5th grade teacher in Surprise, AZ and a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT.)
Beyond preparing youngsters for their transition to middle school, Maloney is founder and co-president of the Arizona NBCT Network, where she supports AZ teacher candidates going through the National Board Certification process at the Arizona K-12 Center. She is also a member of the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team, a Teacher Champion Fellow with Educators For High Standards, and a doctoral candidate.
Beth describes her involvement in state-level education policy as going hand-in-hand with the work she does as a teacher. It’s important, according to Maloney, to provide policy makers with a perspective of the classroom to inform the work they do in crafting education policy. Her advocacy for partnerships between teacher leaders and legislators has sought to create lasting relationships, especially those where policy makers will later contact teachers to inform policy work.
While teachers are education experts, according to Maloney, they don’t always get the chance to share their expertise with those who create the policies that affect education. Moreover, Beth explains that it is the responsibility of teacher leaders to advocate for teaching, learning, and the profession.
Is this something that all teachers can do? How can teachers get started engaging policy makers in their regions? What is involved in developing and maintaining open communication between classrooms and the legislature? Beth discusses these ideas and more about how teacher leaders can take a more active part in the democratic process, including what she calls “Take Your Legislator to School Day.”
Efforts like these can, in fact, impact the policy landscape in your region. I have personally taken part in this type of collaborative work with policy makers and seen the impact it can have in Michigan.
Ultimately, we are all in the business of education, regardless of our roles in the process, to serve the best interests of kids. To ensure high levels of learning for all, teacher leaders need to educate students, collaborate with all stakeholders, and advocate for the profession.
Further Learning on This Topic:
- Take Your Legislator to School Day
- Demystifying the Legislative Process For Teacher (webinar)
- Demystifying the Legislative Process For Teacher (PDF guide)
- LegiScan Database of Bills in Your State and Congress
- MultiState Legislation Tracking
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