Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Becoming an Educational Advocate

President Bush urged for NCLB renewal and a new program to provide “Pell Grants for Kids” in last night’s State of the Union address. If you’re a teacher, both of these ideas may ultimately affect the work you do every day—as well as the lives of the many students you teach.

As a teacher, you are highly qualified to talk about how such programs in the past have affected you and your students. The challenge is determining how to make your voice heard as educational legislation is discussed by state and national legislators. NCTE has the answers!

Every spring, NCTE sponsors an advocacy event on Capitol Hill. This year, NCTE’s “Education Policy and English Language Arts Day” takes place on April 17. Participants can learn more about how educational policy decisions are shaped, talk to NCTE leaders about advocacy efforts, and learn how to schedule meetings with Congressional representatives and staff.

If you can’t make it to D.C., you can still participate in advocacy efforts by visiting members of Congress in your home district to discuss your feelings about NCLB and other education initiatives. NCTE provides step-by-step guidelines to help you get your voice heard.

Sandra Hayes, currently the chair of NCTE’s Middle Level Section and a teacher at Becker Middle School in Becker, Minnesota, has attended NCTE Advocacy Day in the past and knows the value of talking to legislators personally. “I think these kinds of meetings give face, voice, and context to the issues,” she explains. “We know that narrative is a powerful way to learn and these meetings are another kind of learning situation.”

So I urge you to speak out! Visit with your state and federal legislators, and tell them what you think about NCLB and other educational reforms and funding. The narratives that you share can make a powerful difference.

David Christensen, a former NCTE Executive Committee member, explains that the stories teachers tell to elected officials “become powerful testimonies to what works and what does not work in classrooms. They want to hear those stories—especially the legislative aides who do the lion’s share of investigating issues so that they can inform their senator or congressman. I urge everyone to tell their stories and advocate for effective literacy practices.”

To read reflections from Susan Houser, one of last year’s Advocacy Day attendees, check out the “First Person” column from the SLATE Newsletter.

For even more information on ways you can advocate for the best educational legislation, visit the NCTE Action Center, where you'll find additional tips and resources.

1 comment:

seowriters said...

Educational Advocate is very noble profession, thanks for the post i was searching for this type of material.