Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

June 10, 2010

How do teachers get a seat at the education policy table?


6-8-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Where there's a will there's a way!

This week’s edchat was an amazing affair! One of our most intrepid edchat participants, Mike Harrison (@harrisonmike),  agreed to produce the summary – before the event – and certainly had his work cut out! (see his blog posting on writing this). I think you’ll agree he has produced a fabulous summary of the discussion! (see Mike’s bio below)

Politics and education seem to me to make uneasy bedfellows. Watching and participating in #edchat it felt like the start of something. I’m a fairly new teacher but already I can see a world of difference between the realities that teaching professionals deal with and the view that policy makers have of the educational landscape. This can be summed up by the fact that in the UK the previous Secretary of State for Education was an economist and the current encumbent a journalist. How much can these people really know about education and educational systems? A large number of the comments various edchatters made seemed to me like a call to arms: teachers get involved! Perhaps a politicised movement linked to the PLN is a real chance for change in educational policy and the first step towards really getting teachers’ voices heard? What is sure is that there were some really interesting questions put forward and discussed, some of which you can find below.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  • Lack of knowledge of actual educational landscape on part of policy makers
  • Thinking about how to get teachers involved in the policy making process
  • Factors stopping or demotivating teachers from getting involved in such processes
  • Possible ways in which to get teachers involved at grassroots level

Here is a selection of some of the comments:

With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@cybraryman1 “If you’re not actively involved in getting what you want, you don’t really want it.” P. McWilliams

@estherfeldbaum Teachers need to stop waiting for permission to be leaders #edchat

@andycinek What are we focusing on when we say “a seat at the table” becoming a politician or policy maker or just having a voice?

@krista_scott Don’t feel educators have a strong seat at policy table, but we don’t run for office either…

@hooperchris #edchat – start local – I’m chair of local authority’s ESOL group and working with them to shape priorities for English lang provision

@dlrichert How can teachers go from being viewed as valued stakeholders of schools instead of as employees?

@ShellTerrell If all gathered behind 1 of our PLN members & helped them campaign, could we get them in power to impact Edu policy #edchat

@ShellTerrell Agree! RT @JasonFlom: @acluff I think you’re right.  So much to do as a teacher.  When is their time to learn to advocate?

@JaneBalvanz So what if we affected edu policy politically via #edchat? Organize to have a write/ call your senator & representative day.

@ToddAHoffman: RE: http://twitter.com/ShellTerrell/status/15716244539 #edchat many teachers fear repercussions for speaking mind

@malcolmbellamy I was reading our new DFE website yesterday and a teacher commented that no minister had any teaching experience! #edchat  

@jeff_shoemaker @weemooseus @tomwhitby do you think a superintendent of a school should have a valid teacher’s licence?

@tomwhitby: @jeff_shoemaker @weemooseus Would you expect the chief of surgery to be a doctor? #edchat

@Smichael920 Prob with edu is everyone went to school everyone’s an expert! Policy makers went to school!

@GaryBrannigan Life in the classroom differs from life in the board room: different pressures #edchat

@MissCheska @ShellTerrell Maybe schools will be off grid when they extract themselves away from txtbk publishers and stand. test companies

@ShellTerrell @MissCheska True but standardized testing an extremely profitable business w/ lobbyists so doubtful this will happen

On a brighter note, more opportunities exist today to be heard -even lone voices-via technology #edchat

@olafelch I have to say, people, that was the most fascinating #edchat I’ve ever experienced. Thanks to everyone who made it great!

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

As we move forward in the 21st century, what changes need to be made to the way Initial Teacher Training is delivered? How should we teach teachers to teach?

To follow the complete discussion see here

For the stats on #edchat participation see here

As ever, there were some great links shared: [most of these are related to politicisation]

@gatorbonBC:  How do we get a seat? We fight. strong. united. Unions in FL / RTTT http://gatorbonbc.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/unions-florida/ #edchat

@gatorbonBC: #edchat http://bit.ly/bOAQhn http://bit.ly/cWGZEC http://bit.ly/aCqI82 3 activist pages for teachers on Facebook

@gatorbonBC we become activists, flood the media & social media… #edchat like @jasonflom, he does it so well !  http://bit.ly/cqAzZT

@graingered @ShellTerrell 1 of my 1st posts- seems $ the root/all ed evil. Common denominatr btwn govt&unions-TEACHRS http://tinyurl.com/yzx7vu6
Comment about video compares it to “current dialogues around sch reform, unlrng, the lrng rev…” http://youtu.be/Ev-fqtvi0z8 #edchat
100+ Google Tricks That Will Save You Time in School | Online Colleges #safedchat #edtech20 #edchat http://bit.ly/b68q8D
@web20education #safedchat New hastag for teacher who use safe new tehnologies in education 2.0 http://bit.ly/943xuD Join free #edchat #education #edtech20
@ASCD @johntspencer We agree! Get involved in Educator Advocates at http://bit.ly/bs5Whv #ascdpolicy #edchat
@ShellTerrell Perhaps we can spearhead this grassroots discussion at the Edu PLN Ning http://bit.ly/QUthF #Edchat
@posthhs Creative Activities In a One Period Chemistry Lab, please add to it  http://bit.ly/az2QpM #edchat #edscience @arosey @mahanchem @jay_swan
@esolcourses RT @cybraryman1 Get involved with #ecosys chat on wed (restarts on June 16) drive change in public ed  http://ecosysedu.pbworks.com/ #edchat
@davidwees My students on their school trip to Africa are blogging about the experience here: http://kipevu.org

@rliberni: RT @PreKlanguages: Is effective teaching an art or a science? http://bit.ly/9GChbR #education

@DrTimony You have no #talent: An introduction http://ow.ly/1VJXE #ntchat #edchat #Expertise

Mike Harrison is an ESOL teacher based in South East London.
He is getting into using technology in his teaching (in particular online video) and learning a lot about teaching by reading blogs and tweets.
You can read his thoughts at his blog
(http://mikeharrison.edublogs.org/) and follow him on Twitter (@harrisonmike)
See his post on writing this summary!

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.

What do you think? Leave a comment!



  1. […] Update 10/06/2010: The summary is now posted on Berni’s blog. You can read it by clicking here. […]

    Pingback by PHEW!!! | Mike Harrison's Blog — June 10, 2010 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, Berni Wall and Michael Harrison, DB. DB said: RT @ShellTerrell: How do teachers get a seat at the education policy table? http://bit.ly/aCU011 #edchat […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention How do teachers get a seat at the education policy table? « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language -- Topsy.com — June 10, 2010 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  3. The Virtual Town Hall has Spoken – Teachers Empowered 2010 … Teachers want a voice. Social Media gives that voice. To get teachers involved in social media, we start at the grassroots …

    Comment by gatorbonbc — June 10, 2010 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

    • Hi Bonnie, thank you for your comment and encouragement to teachers to get more involved!

      Comment by rliberni — June 11, 2010 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

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