Have you noticed that national commissions and panels of “experts” often have no working teachers? Consequently, there is a lot of grumbling about the lack of “teacher voice” in decisions affecting the classroom. Now a group of teachers has decided to do something about it instead of just grumbling.

 

They created a new organization called CAPE (Coalition Advocating for Public Education). They attend board meetings and represent the teacher voice. Silent no more! What if teachers did this in every school district? This is an example of the power of organized voices. They don’t need to sign up every teacher in Nashville. They just need a few teachers who are dedicated, articulated, and fearless. And they need to follow through. They will make a difference.

 

Here is their inaugural press release from last week:
Nine teachers will be using their teacher voices to speak before the Metro Nashville Public Schools board of education on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Their topic will be the impact of high-stakes testing on their classrooms.
The teachers are a part of a campaign recently launched by the Middle Tennessee Coalition Advocating for Public Education (CAPE).
“When you tell teachers to ‘use their teacher voice’, it means to speak loudly and clearly, with the kind of authority that brings immediate order to a chaotic classroom,” said Amanda Kail, an English as a second language teacher at Margaret Allen Middle Prep and one of the founders of CAPE. “As teachers, we deal with the consequences of chaos brought into our profession by the so-called reform movement. Many people are talking about the best way to fix schools, but our policy-makers need to remember that we are the experts in education, and it is time to voice that expertise for our profession, our students, and our communities.”
The coalition was started by a handful of public school teachers and regional organizations who advocate for public schools, teachers, and students. CAPE is planning to recruit more teachers to speak at the school board meetings every month. They are also planning other events, such as a panel exploring the impact of “Zero Tolerance Discipline” on November 17.