News and Press Releases

Why Teachers’ Voices Matter: Shaping Educational Policy

Isabel Nunez
A Talk by Isabel Nuñez, PhD, Guest Speaker

Teacher Education and Credential Open House
October 8, 2014, Santa Rosa Campus

Teaching can be all-consuming — in the best possible way. Sure, there are stacks of papers to grade and tedious paperwork to complete, but most of what keeps teachers busy is joyful, passionate engagement with the students, the subject matter, and the synergy forged in bringing the two together. Then there’s the teaching itself, the art and the science equally absorbing. Pedagogy is the ultimate subject for lifelong learning, rewarding research into methodological breakthroughs and even closer study of the unique learning needs and interests of the individuals before you.

Acknowledging just how busy teachers are, this presentation asks something critically important: Set aside some time and space for policy. In the past couple of decades, the landscape of public education has changed so dramatically that policy work for teachers is a necessity. If teachers do not have voice in United States education policy, there may no longer be a vocation of teaching. This presentation will explain how large-scale policy decisions have an impact on individual teachers’ lives and work, and how teachers can have a stronger collective voice in the policy debate.


Isabel Nuñez holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago, an M.Phil. in Cultural Studies from Birmingham University, England, and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. She was a classroom teacher in Los Angeles and the U.K., and a newspaper journalist in Japan. She edited the 2014 volume Diving In: Bill Ayers and the Art of Teaching into the Contradiction with Crystal Laura and Rick Ayers for Teachers College Press, and has authored chapters in books from Peter Lang, Routledge and SAGE. She is an associate editor for Multicultural Perspectives, and she edited and introduced the section “Self, Sexuality and Teaching” in Sexualities in Education: A Reader, published by Peter Lang in 2012.

Before joining the USF School of Education as visiting faculty, she was an associate professor in the Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice at Concordia University Chicago. While there she was a founding member of CReATE (Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education), a group of volunteer faculty engaged in inquiry and dialogue around policy for the city schools of Chicago. She has seven years of classroom teaching experience and eleven years at the university level.