TFA Alums Start Organization to Engage Educators in Policies
Two Teach For America alums are helping educators understand policy and the importance local elections can have on fellow teachers and their students.
For Angie Brito de Rodriguez and Sarah Tekolste, the upcoming election is personal. They are both educators—Sarah teaches Spanish at Shortridge High School, and Angie is an Assistant Principal at URBAN ACT Academy.
Because of their investment in education and stake in the upcoming election, they co-founded an organization of teachers that works to engage educators in policies that impact the students and families they serve.
The organization, Teachers Alliance for Equitable Public Schools (TAEPS) is focused on the IPS School Board elections for now. “We believe teachers are some of the most proximate people to the challenges in education, so it is important that we are engaging in conversations directly with policymakers about solutions,” says founder Sarah Tekolste.
Founder Angie Brito de Rodriguez emphasizes that point, “The outcome of the upcoming school board election is critical for teachers, students, and families in IPS, especially as COVID 19 has raised the volume of challenges we’ve been experiencing for quite some time. TAEPS was created so that teacher voices are present and a prominent part of the outcome on November 3.”
TAEPS seeks to build a platform for teachers from all public school types to come together and talk about the policy changes needed to address educational inequity in our city. “We want teachers to have mutually beneficial relationships with elected leaders who influence educational policy. We are the experts in our profession, and we believe it is in the best interest of our community that teachers have an opportunity to provide feedback on educational policies that impact their classrooms,” Tekolste says. By engaging teachers in productive conversations with legislators and other elected leaders, the group aims to work together to ensure educational progress that meets the needs of students and parents in Indianapolis.
Tekolste and de Rodriguez are both TFA alumni, and de Rodriguez majored in Spanish and Education at Miami University. The TAEPS leadership team represents both teachers who were traditionally trained and those who went through alternative pathways. Experiences at TFA and in education helped the founders see how relevant education progress is to other social justice movements that are happening in our country.
Teach For America is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and does not endorse any campaigns or candidates for public office. Recipients of AmeriCorps funding, including most TFA corps members, are prohibited from engaging in political, voter registration, and census activities while charging time to their AmeriCorps grant.