Using AACTE Advocacy Resources in a Critical Policy Analysis Class

This month’s members-only Federal Update webinars are today and tomorrow, September 19 and 20 – or just view the recording in our archive if you miss them! The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Over the summer of 2017, I integrated a valuable new asset into my doctoral-level Critical Policy Analysis class: advocacy resources from AACTE. From the members-only webinars to downloadable advocacy guides, these materials informed my students’ discussion of policy items pertinent to not only Illinois but the nation at large. They also provided current, practical information and tools for students to become more engaged in advocacy outside of class.

Drawing upon information from the AACTE website and online Advocacy Center, our class learned about the churn of prospective legislation in Congress and signed up to receive AACTE’s Action Alerts. My students were particularly interested in the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which we learned about through AACTE’s Federal Update webinar recordings. These briefings became a vital part of the curriculum, providing great added value!

One of the students provided a stellar example of how she used the materials and became emboldened to seek co-sponsorship for a state bill:

I’m Lynn Long, a Native American student in the Curriculum, Advocacy, and Policy Program at National Louis University. My Critical Policy Analysis paper titled “Don’t Get Sick After June – Democratic Senators Offer Amendment to Protect Healthcare for Indian Country” addresses the critical imbalance of healthcare issues surrounding Native American tribal communities. The AACTE Advocacy Center provided resources towards implementing a co-sponsorship program involving Illinois senators designed to analyze current critical issues healthcare facilities face on U.S. reservations. Most important, collaborating with my peers and using the Federal Update webinar strengthened my resolve to address healthcare issues that are adversely impacting tribal schools.

Provided the opportunity to use the Advocacy Center tools in pushing for policy priorities, students were able to get much more “up close and personal” with the process of effective advocacy on the issues that impact their respective professions. Our Ed.D. students, like many student leaders elsewhere, are critical decision makers in their schools. They much appreciated reviewing the guides, taking in the tips for setting up meetings, and practicing the strategies suggested for speaking to their representatives as knowledgeable constituents. They really stepped up their engagement! Given our summer sessions using the AACTE Advocacy Center – unpacking the policies that are impacting their own classrooms – these students will persevere and prosper, informing policy making into the future.

Todd Alan Price is director of policy studies at the National College of Education, National Louis University (IL), and a member of the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy.

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Todd Alan Price

National Louis University