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Bridging the Gap Between Educators and Policy Experts
posted by: Guest contributor | August 24, 2015, 02:47 PM   

By Lindsay Willmann

In this era of accountability, the division between Congress, state capitols, and the classroom seems wider than ever. Teachers and principals lament the many rules and restrictions placed on their school day, and this disenchantment grows with each newly minted policy. They notice that input from teachers like them is rarely solicited, but know how essential it is to effective policy decisions.

A recent report, The Teacher Voice Project, sheds light on the current level of communication between educators and policy experts. Survey results explain the methods and frequency of contact between these two illustrious groups, and illuminate just how interested both parties are in working together. Two case studies detail successful stories of educators participating in the policy-making process, illustrating the importance of organizations that support their involvement in these discussions. Finally, an extensive spreadsheet of organizations that represent teachers and administrators outlines the where, what, and how of getting more involved in the push for better policy.


For those interested in communicating effectively with policy experts, here are a few tips:
  •  Attend conferences, panel discussions, Congressional briefings, and other events where you can meet and chat with policy professionals
  • Consider drafting a report independently, with fellow educators, or with your organization to inform a chosen policy topic
  • Participate in surveys related to education policy topics and make sure you see the results
  • Share your thoughts through blog posts, twitter chats, or an email to your Senator or Representative
  • If you haven’t already, join an organization! If you’re already a member, find ways to get involved in the events they host and keep an eye out for position statements, reports, and other important information.

Most of all, know that your opinion is valued - 95% of policy experts surveyed reported they are interested in receiving more feedback from educators. If you have an idea of what you’d like to say, do your homework by reading reports, articles, and other information related to your topic of interest. If your understanding in this area is limited, try to connect with a local policy-maker. 100% of policy experts surveyed are interested in helping teachers better understand policy issues.


Bio: Lindsay Willmann is a former teacher and graduate student at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Follow her work and learn more about getting involved in education policy discussions by visiting her blog, The Teacher Voice Project. Send content inquiries to


AAE is proud to have been included in the Teacher Voice Project report. We regularly represent teacher views to policy experts as reported in AAE member exclusive surveys.



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