Students: Advocate for Your Profession!

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Final exams, report writing, applying for internship, studying for the Praxis ... Graduate school is so busy that it's hard enough to make time for yourself, so why should or how can you possibly think about making time to take on one more thing and advocate for the profession?

Advocacy work is important and an often overlooked aspect of the profession. It ensures our ability to not only practice, but also do what is best for students and families. For example, decisions about your career and the future of our profession are made on the federal, state, and district level. If our voices are not heard as these decisions are made, then they will be made by others who do not have our experience, background, or training. Legislators do listen to their constituents - you are the ones who elect them to office. It is also true that the 18-29 age group (the age group that encompasses a great majority of graduate students) is becoming a powerful voice in politics. Finally, did you know that the APA's proposed model licensure act is attempting to remove the use of "psychologist" from the title of nondoctoral and nonlicensed school psychologists and that through advocacy efforts of school psychologists like yourself, over 19,000 letters were sent in opposition? There is also current legislation pending in the U.S. Congress that would provide grant funding for districts to hire more school psychologists in "high need" areas. Letters and visits to state legislators have already begun to advocate for the passing of this bill. These are just a few examples of how individual advocacy efforts can have lasting results.

So what is the price we pay by not getting involved? How about a reduction of school psychology services? How about the negative impact on children, schools, and families? …