The Teachers Caucus Podcast

Why I decided to start an education policy podcast.

ADVOCACY

Shawn Sheehan

12/2/2021 2 min read

Last September, I was attending the Texas Education Policy Fellowship Program retreat and one of the professors leading the event asked if I had heard that the University of Nebraska had failed to pass an anti-critical race theory (CRT) resolution. His remark followed the comments I had just made about how much more incendiary school board meetings had become this season. I thought to myself, “That’s interesting. Nebraska’s political makeup isn’t that different than Texas’. I don’t think many educators know about this and they should.” And thus, The Teachers Caucus Podcast was born.

I needed a co-host, though. It couldn’t just be me ranting about education policy. Specifically, I needed someone who could present a distinctly different perspective (i.e. a non-Texan) but also someone I enjoyed conversing with regularly. I immediately thought of the 2019 National Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson. He and I had already had several conversations about education policy, among other things, and I felt that our discussions would be interesting enough for an audience. I reached out and it was a lock! Then, in a truly fortuitous chance of luck, I told my best teacher-friend about it - Joel Deardorf, an orchestra teacher in Oklahoma - and it happened that he had all the technical know-how of recording and producing a podcast. It was meant to be. Now, if Kareem Neal, 2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year, says I reached out to him first, that’s true, but that’s because at the time I was looking for a west coast voice to join us as a third co-host. He declined, but we’ll get him on as a guest soon. Much love, Kareem!

So, Rodney and I set out to make the podcast that was missing from the thousands already out there. There are plenty of podcasts that discuss education instruction and pedagogy. And there are countless political podcasts on the web. There are just a handful of podcasts that address education policy, but typically in addition to a broader focus on all things related to education. What’s missing is a platform for educators to talk solely about the latest in education policy and to learn from some leading voices in those spaces. What also sets us apart from the rest is that, for now, we are a true “indie” podcast. We are self-funded and only represent ourselves. We don’t claim to speak on behalf of our employers or represent a non-profit, think tank, or political action committee. We’re just two recognized educators who want to discuss ed policy. And while we’re no longer in the classroom, we’re being extremely intentional about featuring the voices of current classroom teachers.

So, if you have an idea for a guest we should feature, or you yourself would like to join us on the podcast for an episode, let us know! We appreciate your likes, shares, and retweets to help us reach a bigger audience and amplify some really incredible guests! Check us out at www.teacherscaucus.com.