2019 Washington Week in Review

It was another successful Washington Week as AACTE members, students, and partners descended on the nation’s capital to network, advocate, and augment the capacity of the profession at the table.  There was something for everyone—whether they were attending Washington Week for the first time or were a perennial attendee.

Three signature events comprise AACTE’s Washington Week: the State Leaders Institute (June 2-3), the Holmes Doctoral Scholar Summer Policy Institute (June 3), and Day on the Hill (June 4-5).  Kim Metcalf, chair of the AACTE Board of Directors, and Michael Maher, chair of the AACTE Advisory Council of State Chapters, kicked off the week of events opening the State Leaders Institute (SLI).   

Focusing on building the capacity of the state chapter and its leadership, SLI attendees learned about the impact of their state’s political dynamics on the development and advancement of education policy. Diving into the challenges of chapter leadership, SLI sessions included the development of sustainable leadership pipelines and the recruitment and retention of chapter membership. Conversations and sessions covered ideas and practices on a host of important issues of interest to AACTE members, including how to attract more teachers to the profession, how to use social media to augment the presence and voice of the chapter and its membership, and how to employ the power of grants to meet state and regional chapter goals.  

SLI participants were introduced to the efficacy and utility of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.  Attendees learned ways to effectively communicate with and through broadcast and print media, and they learned how chapters can partner with the national office to engage elected officials and the public on education issues through webinars, panel discussions, OpEds, and other advocacy tools. 

Holmes Doctoral Scholars explored various ways that advocacy can be employed to ignite change in the profession. A new component to this year’s sessions included interacting with a panel of experts from across the country, meeting with Scholars via Zoom. The scholars participated in roundtable discussions about their research focus and learned ways to grow a strong support network from Andrew Daire, dean of the college of education at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Larry Walker, assistant professor in the college of community innovation and education at the University of Central Florida. Advocacy is not just engaging with elected officials; scholars learned strategies on how to advocate for themselves as they enter the professoriate upon completion of their degree. They also heard keynote speaker Lorelle Espinosa, vice president for research at American Council on Education, give a special presentation on race and ethnicity in higher education.

Holmes Scholars, state chapter leaders, and others then transitioned to AACTE’s premier advocacy event, Day on the Hill.  Ann Larson, chair-elect of the AACTE Board of Directors and Trish Parrish, chair of the Committee for Government Relations and Advocacy, welcomed attendees to a the day of preparation that included dual-track interactive sessions on effective advocacy strategies for novice and seasoned advocates. Whether it was learning where to find the advocacy resources you need or learning how to engage in your state’s regulatory process to support the profession, the sessions were dedicated to taking members’ skills and experience to the next level.

Opportunities included the chance to simulate and practice meetings and receive feedback from more experienced advocates to prepare attendees for their meetings with Members of Congress or their staff. The day of sessions wrapped up with a congressional staffer sharing best practices on how to work with staff and engaging in a conversation on the state of the profession. As attendees transitioned into networking and final preparation for going to Capitol Hill the next day, AACTE President and CEO, Lynn Gangone and Kim Metcalf share remarks about the importance of these opportunities to ensure that the profession is at the table and being a resource for our elected officials.

To see what unfolded on Capitol Hill and throughout the week, search #AACTEWW19 on Twitter!

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