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Educators for High Standards was founded to equip educators to amplify their voices as they advocate for the needs of their students and fellow educators. With a focus on high standards, aligned assessments, and meaningful accountability, we know that teachers are uniquely positioned with first-hand knowledge and expertise to make sure that efforts in these initiatives are student focused. Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year, The Collaborative for Student Success supported the Teacher Champions in designing and implementing state advocacy projects aligned to one of our core areas of focus. The Teacher Champions in Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan and Wyoming engaged parents, community members, teachers, and legislators in a variety of ways to ensure that schools, districts and states are working to give all students access to high quality education.

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Arizona, like many states across the country, is facing a severe teacher shortage. According to the 2015 Arizona Department of Education report, 24 percent  of Arizona teachers leave after their first year and 20 percent leave after their second year. Arizona universities continually report decreasing numbers of students declaring and graduating with education degrees. As of 2016, only 21 percent of Arizona educators were over 55-years-old and approaching retirement. Arizona needs to recruit excellent, qualified teachers and we need those teachers to remain in the profession.

 

Explore Arizona’s Project

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On Sept. 18, 2017, Kentucky submitted its state accountability plan under ESSA to the U.S. Department of Education for approval. Around that same time, the Kentucky Teacher Champions team began brainstorming about ways we could be advocates and hold our state accountable to ensure the state’s new accountability plan was implemented in a way that  would provide all students with access to a high-quality education. We knew we wanted teachers to collaborate with parents to discuss the implementation of our plan in the following areas: equity, standards and assessments, academic-growth, and high-quality instruction. We hoped that these interactions with parents would help us identify recommendations on how to implement the plan at the school and district level to reach the state’s goals and improve student learning and achievement in Kentucky. With this in mind, we began planning a parent-teacher convening.

 

Explore Kentucky’s project.

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When our team began working with the Collaborative for Student Success in 2016, we were challenged to develop and implement a state advocacy project aligned to the mission: to maintain implementation of high standards, high-quality assessments and strong systems of accountability to ensure that all students are prepared for post-secondary success. There was particular hope in Michigan to address these issues through our state’s accountability plan. We were asked to serve on the Teacher Quality committee for while the state was developing their ESSA-compliant plan to provide strategic counsel on teacher quality, preparation, retention, and recruitment. While we were meeting with stakeholders as part of this committee, we realized that we were the only active educators in the room, and that the best people to show how ESSA could be implemented in our state are the people in our shoes: current educators.

 

Explore Michigan’s project.

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In recent years, there has been an increasing need for educators to create and strengthen relationships with legislators in Wyoming. As the legislature looks to tighten the financial belt on education, Wyoming has started implementing their accountability plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Because there were multiple competing priorities and differing levels of knowledge, we found it critical to ensure all stakeholders are familiar with Wyoming’s state plan.  To do this, we developed a plan that not only helps informs stakeholders but also ensures that the state implements its accountability plan with fidelity and in a way that will improve student outcomes.

 

Explore Wyoming’s project.

Interested in using your voice as an advocate?

Become a Teacher Champion for Educators for High Standards!