The Human Face of Policy

The Teachers’ Democracy Project starts from the fundamental belief that teachers, if they are to be(come) effective and empowered, need to be closely connected to their students and their communities. This belief informs both the focus on culturally responsive pedagogy and the inclusion of advocacy within TDP activities; teachers need to understand the issues faced by students and their communities, incorporate these issues into their curricula, and be a part of advocating for positive change in these communities and in education.

The last few decades have brought numerous changes to public education, many of them based on ideas about accountability and incentives that have resonated with much of the public. Who can object to holding teachers accountable? Why not evaluate teachers based on how much their students learn? Shouldn’t competition from charters improve all schools? The surprising consensus around these policy prescriptions from both left and right has come, in part, from the ability of those pushing these policies to phrase them in ways that sound like common sense to many.

However, many of these same policies do not enjoy such widespread support from those closest to the classroom: teachers and students. This blog series explores educators’ views of policy solutions, asking how the policies passed by state and Federal legislators and Boards of Education are impacting the lived experiences of teachers and their students. What, in fact, is the human face of policy? Too often we hear only the voices of politicians and “experts;” this series presents the voices of those directly impacted by educational policies as they build their understanding of the connections between the lived experience of their students, educational policy, and their own lives.

To see all the posts in this series, click here.

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