learn / 2016

Those Who Can, Teach! Elevating Teacher Solutions for Student Needs

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Educators 4 Excellence-Los Angeles

Teachers at E4E-LA are designing the policy vision and solutions that will propel more of our students to colleges and careers.


Please describe your project proposal.

E4E-LA is building a movement of teachers to take action on behalf of student success. As our district responds to decades of demand for better public schools by trying to implement higher standards, healthier school climates, and improved rates of entry to colleges and careers, E4E-LA provides teachers with opportunities to learn about education policy, network with policy makers, and participate in leadership development and advocacy campaigns to make LA a great place to learn and teach.

Which of the learn metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • College matriculation rates
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • Proficiency in English and Language Arts and Math
  • Student education pipeline
  • Students’ perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school
  • Suspension and expulsion rates

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to learn?

To help transform LAUSD into a great place to learn and teach, we are building a teacher-led movement for education equity. In doing so, we will continue training teachers to lead policy design, advocacy and implementation where critical decisions are made that affect teaching and learning–at their schools, unions, district and state.

Why are teachers a critical lever for educational equity? Teachers often bear witness to the problems and shortcomings of our education system. In addition to contending with persistent achievement gaps, our school system struggles to empower parents and teachers who are increasingly defecting from public education and the teaching profession. In LAUSD and California, student enrollment has declined by 2.6% annually since 2002, and enrollment in teacher preparation programs has decreased by 53% since 2009. The confluence of these and other alarming trends creates less funding and faith in our public schools and a looming teacher shortage estimated at 100,000 in the next decade.

In the face of these challenges, teachers, parents and students intuitively know that a great teacher can change the trajectory of a student’s future. In fact, research shows that teachers are the most influential school-based factor determining student achievement. However, despite what research, parents and students already know, teacher voices are rarely included in education policy discussions. And as a result, teachers are often positioned as the subjects, not agents, of education reform. This leads to lower rates of engagement, morale and retention among teachers.

We are helping teachers harness their passion for students and their frustration with “the system” into a movement for smarter, more equitable education policy. Five years into this work, we have inspired more than 4,500 teachers to join our movement and hundreds to lead our policy and advocacy work, and they are focused on making LA a better place to learn and teach. Our teachers have already taken steps to influence and impact Common Core implementation and school climate, affecting outcome metrics such as: college matriculation rates, district-wide graduation rates, student education pipeline, students’ perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school and suspension and expulsion rates.

E4E-LA teachers have crafted research-based policy recommendations, testified before the LAUSD School Board, taken on formal leadership seats in their schools, district and union, written media and participated in coalitions with parent and youth organizations that have resulted in concrete changes to budget, support plans, staffing and accountability. Most importantly, our teachers have experienced improvements in the number of students we engage, graduate and send to college. While there is greater room for improvement in Los Angeles public education, our teachers are becoming part of the solution.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

As classroom teachers are the most important in-school factor in student achievement, our long-term goals are to elevate the quality and prestige of the teaching profession and to increase student engagement, achievement and college readiness. E4E-LA has established five intermediate-term goals that guide our programming:

Build a movement of solutions-oriented teachers; Identify and train teachers to lead change in their schools, districts and union; Create teacher-developed policy recommendations; Advocate for teacher-developed recommendations; and Scale the model with training, partnerships and resources.

We measure our success based on the following: Expanding our membership by serving hundreds of additional teachers each year; Training dozens of additional teachers to take on leadership roles or actions on behalf of LA students; Elevating research and classroom expertise by publishing one teacher-created policy paper per year; and Making substantive policy changes by mobilizing our members to promote meaningful changes in policy and practice.

We use the following mechanisms to measure progress: Tracking membership and leadership data through a robust Salesforce CRM; Surveying members, non-member teachers, partners, parents and students to inform our policy positions and papers; Tracking education policy issues, bills, resolutions and media; and Tracking the outputs and performance of our team against goals to inform training and course correction.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness