Lisa Lazare didn’t see people who looked like her in her upper-level science courses in college — neither learning nor teaching. That led her to join Teach For America to help encourage other young women and students of color to pursue careers in STEM. But she also realized that breaking down the systemic barriers for those students required more than just teaching.
“I realized that improving students’ experience and outcomes wasn’t just about getting a great teacher; there was so much more at play. I got involved with LEE to tear back the layers of what is causing inequity across racial lines and socioeconomic lines.”
This pushed her to learn more about the role that she could play in the policy affecting students every, single day.
“The Policy and Advocacy Summer Fellowship took me to the next level of understanding how policy is formed and executed at the state level. It was so important to learn power-mapping and root-cause analysis to give me a deeper lens to see where I can have an impact and dismantle systems of oppression in education.”
For Lisa, it all tied back to having better teachers and more diverse representation. But now she knows where educational equity falls in the policy landscape.
“We need to build relationships to get more policymakers to come into schools and get to know parents and students and truly engage stakeholders in policy. We need to tell stories with compassion and tenderness. I think that, quite frankly, we have lost each other’s humanity, and we need to recognize it and honor it in our policymaking processes and the stories we tell.”
Learn more about the Policy and Advocacy Summer Fellowship.
Lisa Lazare was a 2014 Teach for America corps member in Rio Grande Valley.