Greg Pearson Scholar National Academy of Engineering

Teachers as Policy Makers

PostedThursday, April 13, 2017 at 3:26 PM

Teachers are typically not policymakers, but they possess the knowledge and information from which effective policies are created, according to LinkEngineering member Donna Migdol, a STEM teacher and professional developer for the six elementary schools in Oceanside, New York. Donna cochaired the planning of a national convocation last November in DC that focused on the role of K-12 teachers in influencing policy related to the implementation of engineering education. “We know how students learn. We know that the emotional, social, and intellectual well-being of our students is as important as their academic success. . . . We know that some policies can have opposite effects than what they were designed to have, and we often know why.” Donna’s comments appear in the recently published convocation proceedings volume, which can be read and downloaded free at the National Academies Press website,  The report notes a number of ways teachers can exert influence on education policy, including developing instructional materials, presenting at school board meetings, representing teachers outside of their school, becoming involved in politics, and engaging in research experiences or fellowships (e.g., Einstein Fellows, Knowles Science Teaching Fellows) and then bringing that expertise back to their colleagues. The proceedings, which include a section on potential short-, medium-, and long-term actions that K-12 educators might consider, was the focus of two sessions at the recent National Science Teachers Association national conference in Los Angeles and will also be featured June 24 at the American Society for Engineering Education’s K-12 Workshop in Columbus, OH.

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  • Linda  Kekelis

    Posted 1 year and 1 month ago

    Greg – it’s great to see the National Academy of Engineering involving K-12 teachers in this important work. If we want to bring engineering to K-12 students, who better to involve in planning and implementing policy to help get it right? Donna Migdol brings expertise as a teacher and professional developer—and can often expertise on the perspectives of students and teachers.

    I also appreciated the reference to teachers who work with English language learners and special education students in the Proceedings of the Convocation. By including these students we can reach a broader groups of students who can bring innovative ideas to engineering with their unique perspectives. I look forward to reading the report and seeing what develops from this important work.