PROVIDENCE – Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) was recently awarded a one-year, $275,000 research grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study ways teachers can effectively influence school policy outside the classroom, announced AISR Interim Executive Director Michael Grady. 

“We are very grateful to the Gates Foundation for its support of this effort to lift the potential and power of teacher voice as a means of advancing educational equity and justice,” said Grady. ‘Within research and policy circles, there is consensus that teacher agency matters.  This study will focus on understanding how schools and systems can tap into teachers’ expertise to both shape and support education policy decisions.”

The study’s ultimate goal is to provide a landscape analysis along with specific case profiles of teacher leadership and advocacy efforts in the realm of education policy that help better define teacher leadership and advocacy for the field and inform prospective funding strategies to support future work. 

The national research, concentrated in approximately 20 states, is divided into five stages, starting with the development of a framework that identifies:

  • The range of roles teachers assume in policymaking and advocacy
  • The supports required for teachers to assume these roles
  • The range of expected outcomes of teacher engagement in policymaking
  • The impact and/or levels of influence of teacher engagement in policymaking

Following framework development, AISR will identify and study organizations and promising efforts within the foundation’s priority states/regions that support teacher leadership and advocacy around education policy. After preliminary analysis of the data, AISR will convene teacher leaders and others previously involved in engaging teachers in policymaking to provide feedback and inform analysis. A final report will be released to the field by Fall 2017.

“Creating lasting change in education requires stronger connections between education policy and classroom practice,” adds Grady.  “By focusing on teachers’ essential roles in informing policy, in addition to practice, the field will take longer, more significant strides toward achieving educational equity and justice.” 


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