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Practice ‘Moving the Gears of Democracy’ at Advocacy Preconference

Speaking at a meetingAdvocating in education policy can seem a daunting endeavor. From federal engagement to statehouse meetings to local councils and school boards, the field can look overwhelming and individual impact feel scattered.  At the heart, though, education and educator preparation are state issues.  Engaging at the state and local level is the best way to have a direct impact on behalf of students and the profession.

The Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy, one of AACTE’s standing committees, is offering a preconference at the AACTE Annual Meeting focused directly on helping you develop your advocacy skills for state and local engagement. Your Levers of Civic Power: Moving the Gears of Democracy is half-day interactive session designed to provide information and practice in three important areas of state and local advocacy: participating in town halls, speaking before a committee or commission, and engaging candidates during a debate.

Your participation in these three types of events is a direct channel to policymakers and a key platform for getting your message heard:

  • Town halls provide a group model for interacting directly with legislators and government officials. They are great for building group support and advancing your message beyond the individual legislator to a wider audience of all attendees. These events encourage active participation!
  • Committees or commissions do the substantive work of regulation and oversight for education and educator preparation. Members want your input and expert input to get their work accomplished! Do not wait until you see an obstacle to attend their meetings—simply showing up and being present for the work of the committee goes a long way in building your credibility with regulators.
  • Debates will be more frequest this year with the national election pending and, like town halls, provide a forum to carry your message not only to candidates but to all attendees and participants. Debates do not always include audience participation, though floor questions are often solicited at state and local events.

Preconference participants will learn strategies for identifying and participating in these events and work on strategies for speaking to and asking questions of elected and appointed officials. Building on the contributions from other speakers at town hall, committee or commission meetings, and debates is an important part of this process—and techniques for this will be covered during the session. Throughout the afternoon, participants will see the strategies modeled and then have the opportunity to practice them in scenarios so that each person can put these skills to work back home.

Note: Registration for preconferences is required. Space is limited; reserve your seat now.

Do you have questions about this preconference? Email gra@aacte.org .

Allen Clarkson is a member of the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy.


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