Teacher Advocacy Toolkit

Welcome to our guide for amazing teachers
who want to be amazing advocates!

a note from holly

Fellow teacher,

Welcome to MinnCAN’s teacher toolkit, an advocacy resource for educators!

At MinnCAN, we believe that teachers have an important role in education policy and advocacy and have always placed a high value on educator input. Thanks to their expertise and firsthand classroom experiences, teachers add a critical perspective to policy discussions. Quite frankly, to create high quality public schools, we need teacher voices.

Since our founding in 2011, MinnCAN has engaged with teachers in both formal and informal ways, reaching out through email and social media and holding teacher focus groups, round table discussions and town halls. We also facilitated a statewide poll of 400 public school teachers and regularly conduct school visits across Minnesota. We do this outreach in order to find best practices, share teacher voices, and develop policy to replicate the successes of changing-the-odds teachers.

We created this toolkit with input from teachers like you, who want to have a voice in policy issues that affect our classrooms. This toolkit gives you tools to network with other teachers, learn how our state legislators develop education policy and understand your role in advocacy—both at your school and within the larger community.

I hope this toolkit helps you find—or create—your seat at the policymaking table.

See you there!

Holly Kragthorpe
2014–15 MinnCAN teacher policy fellow

how to use this toolkit

MinnCAN advocates for smart public policies that promote access to great public schools for every child in Minnesota, and we want your voice to be part of the conversation. Our advocacy toolkit empowers educators to raise their voice in the community and at the Capitol.

Step 2


Teachers are the number one in-school factor for student success, and we know that teachers need a healthy school culture and strong school leaders to help them excel. Empower yourself by taking stock of your school’s strengths and needs, and then make a plan for action.

  • You [teachers] work with our students every day and can truly have a powerful influence as we work together to ensure that every child gets the best educational experience possible. Thank you for all that you do!
    Representative Anna WillsLegislator
  • It is imperative that teachers become advocates for their students and their profession, since they will be crucial to the success of any reform...As a policy leader, I want teachers to bring their personal experiences and points of view.
    Senator Eric PrattLegislator
  • Understanding the importance of every teacher's voice is a critical starting point for meaningful dialogue on the future of education.
    Senator Branden PetersenLegislator
  • As we consider the challenges of educating our next generation of learners we ask our teachers, our most important asset, to lead us in developing policies and best practices that propel and transform our young learners into being all they can dream.
    Senator Terri BonoffLegislator
  • You can shape public policy if you are present, not if you are absent. Teacher advocacy is critical in developing sound education policy.
    Senator Melisa FranzenLegislator
  • Teachers should be engaged in education policy because it is incredibly fulfilling to be a part of creating change that reaches further than the walls of your classroom.
    Luke WinspurMath Teacher, Shakopee High School
  • Teachers need to be a part of education policy because their daily direct contact with students ensures that best practice is kept in mind when considering policy decisions.
    Andy NelsonMusic Teacher, Ramsey Middle School
  • Teachers know education from the micro to the macro and our advocacy is the key to creating the best experience possible for every one of our kids.
    Elissa Cedarleaf DahlTeacher, Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Teachers should be involved in education policy because they are the ones on the front lines. They are the ones that will be impacted by the policy.
    Christine DavesParent, Minneapolis Public Schools

Step 1


Education advocacy and leadership can take many forms, and it all starts with you. Educators are learners, advocates, school leaders, activists, and change agents. We invite you to use our tools to determine your strengths and next steps.


Step 3


Teacher voice is essential for meaningful education policy debate. To make our schools all they can be, teachers must be at the table talking about what really yields results for kids. Learn how you can help develop and advocate for the policies that affect your classroom.


Get Involved

Help open Minnesota's doors to great teachers

Sign the open letter to the Minnesota Board of Teaching, the Minnesota Department of Education, Gov. Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature, asking them to streamline licensure for experienced out-of-state educators.

Click here
to sign on!