E4E-Boston Campaigns

Schools that Heal Campaign

E4E-Boston conducted a series of one-on-one conversations with teachers to identify the issues at the top of educators’ minds. From these conversations, we amassed a list of 10 issues that emerged as themes and conducted a randomly sampled, representative poll of 100 Boston Public Schools teachers to narrow that list.

The top four issues were voted on by educators at a caucus-style event where teachers unanimously chose to advocate for researching recommendations for how to better support students with trauma.

E4E-Boston convened a Teacher Policy Team that wrote the policy paper Schools that Heal, which featured ten recommendations of how Boston and Massachusetts could better support students experiencing trauma. The paper’s content came from educator experiences, research, and input from other educators via focus groups and surveys.

Following the release of the paper, over 500 teachers were polled to identify which of the ten recommendations they considered to be the top two worthy of an advocacy campaign.

The results of this poll formed the basis of two important documents: an Implementation Guide for Increasing Staff Competency on Trauma-Informed Practices and a Memo on Increasing Mental Health Support Staff in Schools. A Teacher Action Team, made up of eight teachers, met in the fall of 2017 to develop the Implementation Guide and the Memo.

Teachers advocated at the city and state levels for an increase in mental health support staff in schools. Educators met with city and state legislators and testified at School Committee Meetings, City Council meetings, and State House hearings.

This advocacy led to the wins below.

  • Mayor Marty Walsh re-allocates $2.4 million for mental health support staff in BPS
  • Governor Baker allots $7.5 million in a supplemental budget for mental health support staff across the state
     

We have appreciated the incremental progress at the city and state level and our advocacy will allow for more support staff in the short term. However, to create lasting change, we knew we needed to pursue comprehensive legislation to ensure students get the help they deserve. In early 2019 Representative Chynah Tyler filed H.577 in the Massachusetts General Court, which would ensure schools become trauma-informed communities by establishing guidance counselor to student ratios and requiring schools to draft campus-wide mental health plans to meet the needs of students. H.577 currently has 14 co-sponsors, including Joint Education Committee Chair Alice Peisch.

Next Steps 

In order to support H.577 and its goal of creating equitable access to guidance counselors for all students, E4E-Boston will be holding a Lobby Day on June 12th. Join educators from across the Greater Boston Area to meet with legislators and urge them to support H.577.


Fostering Positive School Culture Campaign

2018

Throughout spring 2018, E4E-Boston surveyed over 100 teachers and identified 12 top policy topics. In May, we visited 30 schools and talked with over 800 Boston teachers and asked them to vote on which of those 12 issues they most wanted to see addressed. On May 29th, nearly 50 teachers gathered with President Obama’s former Secretary of Education Dr. John King to vote on the top three issues named by teachers. At the event, teachers participated in an issue selection caucus and chose Fostering Positive School Climate as the clear winner.

Over the summer, three Boston teachers joined the E4E-Boston team to research Fostering Positive School Climate and create a listening session tour to gather teacher input on the issue. Once school was back in session, E4E-Boston hosted over twenty listening session events and heard from over 500 educators on how to improve school culture in Boston. The data we collected from these sessions served as the jumping off point for our Policy Team. Over two months, this group of teachers wrote a policy paper and advocacy plan to make positive school culture the norm across Massachusetts.
 

Next Steps

The Policy Team made four main recommendations for improving school culture, and decided to focus their advocacy campaign around advocating for increased use of restorative justice practices in Boston schools. At a campaign kickoff event this May, educators, parents, and other community stakeholders will gather to hear about the campaign objective and timeline, and take part in a restorative circle.

If you are interested in getting involved in our restorative justice campaign, join us for our paper launch event, Thriving, Not Just Surviving on May 30th!   


National Campaigns

E4E-Boston is a local chapter of a larger national organization. Educators for Excellence has local chapters in New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, Chicago, and Los Angeles. For the most part, local chapters focus on locally chosen issues, like the campaigns described above, however, sometimes there are large national issues that teachers want to get involved in that are aligned to our teacher-written Declaration of Principles and Beliefs. Below are some examples of work that E4E-National has done in partnership with teachers from local chapters.

In Class, Not Cuffs

Last fall, E4E launched In Class, Not Cuffs, a campaign driven by hundreds of teachers who wrote letters, op-eds and testimony to defend the Obama-era discipline guidance that gives teachers tools to discipline students without discrimination.

Title II Funding

E4E members nationally are advocating for Secretary DeVos to fully fund Title II. Title II is the only dedicated source of federal funding for professional learning and leadership support for teachers and principals. It plays a crucial role in supporting our work and meeting the increasingly diverse needs of our students.

DACA

E4E teachers were called to take on this issue due to the many ways immigration impacts school climate and school safety, and following concerns and questions from their students and their students' families.

E4E Declaration Update

The Declaration was written in 2010 by a small group of teachers in New York, and then updated in 2016 by current, classroom teachers from across the country to reflect the ideas of E4E’s diverse and growing membership.

ESSA

In October 2015, the ESSA Teacher Action Team of working classroom teachers published "From the Classroom to Congress: ESEA Policy at Play," which shared priorities from the classroom for Congress to take into account as they prioritized funding and implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.