Once again one of our state legislators has proposed a bill for schools that sounds good in theory, but will be difficult to implement. As far as I know, educators weren't even involved in writing this new legislation. Is there a way to help well-meaning legislators develop a better understanding of public education?
Local and state political leaders often make decisions that directly impact your school or district based upon what they believe to be true. Full-blown advocacy is usually the job of district level administrators, but site level administrators can take action without stepping into the political arena themselves.
To help local and state leaders formulate an accurate understanding of your school, develop a low-key, ongoing relationship with these decision-makers. For example, make certain that a copy of your school/district newsletters is always sent to appropriate city and state officials. Invite them to your campus for special events such as a Read Aloud or Career Day.
You won't always get a response, but you'll be surprised at how many leaders will take the time to read the newsletter or even visit your site. The pay off is being represented by leaders who understand the work you are doing and the challenges you face.
Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young