RELEASE: TeachStrong Aims to Help States Leverage ESSA Flexibility to Modernize and Elevate Teaching

The TeachStrong coalition releases guidance for state policymakers on how to leverage the Every Student Succeeds Act—specifically Title II funding, which supports better professional learning, compensation structures, residency models, and leadership pathways for teachers—as they work to modernize and elevate the teaching profession at the state and local levels.

The TeachStrong campaign brings together more than 60 teachers unions, teacher voice organizations, research institutions, and education reform and policy leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of 2016.

Washington, D.C. — Today, the TeachStrong coalition released recommendations and programmatic examples for states and districts to consider as they make systemic changes to their teacher career continuums. With the newfound flexibility provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, states are uniquely positioned to use funding in Title II—which supports the development of better professional learning, compensation structures, residency models, and leadership opportunities for teachers—to continue to implement necessary improvements to the teaching profession. Passed at the end of 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act replaces and updates the K-12 law known as No Child Left Behind.

The TeachStrong campaign is a coalition of more than 60 leading education groups aimed at making modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority so that students, especially those from low-income families, can be taught by great teachers. The campaign’s nine policy principles detail the need for comprehensive, systemic change to the teaching profession. To accomplish this goal, TeachStrong believes that states must strategically invest in and develop policies that better recruit, prepare, support, and compensate teachers through all stages of their careers.

“At a time when states are developing new plans for improving teacher quality and debating the best ways to allocate the funds they receive through ESSA, the TeachStrong coalition document provides a clear blueprint for elevating the profession in ways that will benefit students,” said Alice Johnson Cain, Teach Plus Executive Vice President of Policy and Partnerships. “Teach Plus hopes that states will carefully consider these strategies as they make critical decisions that will impact students during the next school year and beyond.”​

TeachStrong’s new guidance document includes recommended strategies for states to operationalize the nine TeachStrong principles; examples of programs and activities that have been implemented at the state, local, and school levels that are aligned with the recommended strategies; and the applicable sections of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The document also highlights three states—Delaware, Massachusetts, and Tennessee—that have made pipeline-spanning changes to the teaching profession.

“The passing of ESSA provided the much-needed opportunity to modernize and elevate the teaching profession. Hope Street Group is proud to be a member of TeachStrong’s coalition,” said Dan Cruce, Vice President of Education for Hope Street Group. “We believe this document will be a welcome addition to the teacher leadership we have seen on the ground to help empower state and district leaders to make these critical changes.”

Evan Stone, Co-CEO of Educators 4 Excellence, said, “The importance of teachers as genuine partners in implementing ESSA cannot be understated. In Title II under ESSA, states need to create concrete ways to support teachers as growing professionals to better meet the needs of students, and this can’t happen without teachers at the table. The new guide from the TeachStrong coalition is a valuable tool that can help state and district leaders work in concert with classroom educators to take advantage of the opportunity that ESSA presents to modernize and elevate the teaching profession.”

The TeachStrong campaign has released policy proposals on recruiting diverse, high-achieving teacher candidatesreimagining teacher preparationraising the bar for licensureproviding new teachers with residency and induction programs; ensuring that all teachers have the time, tools, and support necessary to succeedredesigning professional learning to better address student and teacher needs; and providing career pathways for teachers.

Click here to read “Leveraging ESSA to Modernize and Elevate the Teaching Profession: Guidance for States.”

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