Academic journal article Ohio Reading Teacher

Can Educators Swing the Pendulum? Political Advocacy

Academic journal article Ohio Reading Teacher

Can Educators Swing the Pendulum? Political Advocacy

Article excerpt

Here's a quiz for you - can you name your current Ohio House Representative? Can you name your current Ohio Senator? Don't worry, folks, this isn't going to be one of those articles that urges you to write to your representative (although that's never a bad idea). Those kinds of articles have been written for years, to little or no effect. In addition, most educators are simply too busy or just not interested in political matters, even though our profession has been overwhelmingly shaped, since 1983, by non-educators. On the other hand, teachers have the reputation of being militantly political, thanks to the influence of groups like NEA and AFT. In actuality, however, the majority of teachers will never attend an NEA conference or even write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper. In fact, local newspaper subscriptions across the country continue to fall as many teachers put "current events" on the back burner of their lives. In essence, many educators remain uninformed about politics and connected educational matters.

Still, in the last five years of working on current affairs related to education, I have never seen the level of political engagement that I have seen recently. In the words of the character played by Peter Finch in the film, Network, people are "mad as hell, and aren't going to take it anymore."

Below, I profile some of the groups that are taking the lead in trying to make some sense in how we set education policy. I share these in an effort to encourage teachers to become more aware of politics, education, and trends toward educational policy making.

The National Mobilization for Great Public Schools

This website provides access to current opinions about educational concerns for each state. A map is provided to locate current issues. Simply "click" the graphic of Ohio to read about political opinions and educational concerns that are currently being voiced in our state.

Ohio Fair Schools

The mission of the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign is to organize and advocate for high-quality public education opportunities for all Ohio children wherever they live, whatever their race and whatever their family background. …

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