Holmes Scholar Highlights Access to Government at Washington Week
For the first time in three years, AACTE will be hosting its 2022 Washington Week in-person in Washington DC, June 6 – 8. This annual educational policy and advocacy event draws together AACTE’s State Chapter Leadership, Holmes’ Scholars, deans, and faculty for an opportunity to learn and advocate for education and for high quality educational preparation programs throughout the country.
This year, AACTE is combining the best programming from three separate events — State Leaders Institute, Holmes Policy Institute, and Day on the Hill — into one reimagined mini-conference for enhanced collaboration and networking. The 2022 Washington Week program includes shared keynotes and strand-based sessions on today’s most critical issues in education and teacher preparation: censorship, educator shortage, and educator diversity. Attendees can choose to align with a particular strand throughout the event or select sessions from among the three strands.
Holmes Scholar Vivian Medina-Messner is passionate about having conversations that build community. Washington Week provides this opportunity, “[At] Washington Week educators can meet other educators and have great conversations about educational policies and about issues important to our communities and students.” Read below for the rest of AACTE’s conversation with Medina-Messner.
Why do you attend AACTE’s Washington Week?
You get to talk to different educators and learn about how we can advocate for the profession. [Washington Week speakers] talk about how we can tailor our messages to the different representatives. Each year, the programming is different, and you see familiar faces, but times change, and the issues are changing. It is [important] to have a moment to reflect as a community of educators and to think about the different trends and issues as a community.
How have you been able to apply what you have learned in Washington Week?
It’s always very inspirational to hear different leaders talk about the things they want to change. So, that’s the first thing [I took back to my peers and students], that enthusiasm, that inspiration. I’ve organized panels with different educators to talk about some of the issues relating to diversity in the communities we serve. There’s the theoretical part of it, but there’s always the action side of it that we, as educators, can organize.
How has the ‘Day on the Hill’ event shaped your views about education policy?
The amount of access we have to our [government] representatives is important because sometimes as American citizens, we forget. To see that level of access [at Washington Week] where you can reach out and have a conversation about something that you care about in terms of education and educational policies — that’s powerful. We should definitely take advantage of all the access we have to our representative so we can have conversations that can move the needle.
Why should someone make the investment and attend the 2022 Washington Week?
I think it is a great opportunity for networking with other educators and for talking with different [government] representatives. Then, you can explore the city; as Holmes Scholars, we have a lot of fun.