Advancing and Advocating for the Profession
In this post, Joseph Peters of Georgia State University reflects on his experience 2021 Washington Week Day on The Hill attendee.
This year’s AACTE Day on the Hill, themed “Your Voice Matters,” was a fantastic experience. The Hop-In virtual platform made it easy to participate in the event. AACTE’s Research, Policy and Advocacy staff provided excellent speakers to prepare everyone for the congressional visits. Our Georgia team was led by Georgia State University’s Project Nurture TQP Grant Director Norma Green. In addition to Georgia State University, Georgia College and State University, Fort Valley State University, and Middle Georgia State University participated in the event. We were able to set up meetings with both Georgia Senators’ staff, as well as the educational policy staff of four Georgia Representatives.
During the visits, the recipients of the TQP Grant shared their experiences of how the grant helped them reach their goal to become certified teachers. These voices from the field are especially important to show the impact of funding programs like the TQP grants and Teach grants. Following the testimonies, we shared the AACTE legislative priorities and themes as provided by AACTE. I particularly liked the fact sheets that were shared with attendees, which saves having to do one’s own research. When I was asked a question, such as “What was last year’s funding for the TEACH grants,” I could refer to the information on the sheets. I was also able to share the fact sheets with our team to prepare what we were going to discuss during the visits. To personalize each visit, I looked up the senators and representatives on www.congress.gov/ to see which of AACTE’s legislative priority bills they sponsored, or co-sponsored, so I could thank them for their support.
I definitely recommend this advocacy experience for educational leaders. Not only are you championing for the profession, but you are also able to find out what is going on with your own state representatives, senators, and their staff.