Magazine article Techniques

Put Your Program in the Spotlight-Standing out to Decisionmakers

Magazine article Techniques

Put Your Program in the Spotlight-Standing out to Decisionmakers

Article excerpt

With so many worthy issues competing for the attention of elected officials these days, it takes time and hard work to raise the profile of issue to capture the attention of policymakers. Lyndon Johnson used to say that, "the time to make friends is before you need them." As Congress is in the midst of making crucial decisions regarding the future of programs that prepare young people and adults for the workforce, it is now more important than ever that elected officials are made aware of the importance of career and technical education (CTE) programs in their own communities. Reaching out to your members of Congress when they are home in their districts or states can provide you with the perfect opportunity to educate them about career and technical education and how it benefits students, residents and the local economy. The current administration has already released a reauthorization plan for the Perkins program that questions the effectiveness of CTE. Make it your mission to let your members of Congress know that career and technical education is effective!

As educators and administrators working with students every day, you know best that secondary students who complete a career and technical education concentration have better employment and earnings outcomes than other students, and that students who complete a rigorous academic core coupled with a career concentration have test scores that equal or exceed those of students considered to be "college prep," are more likely to pursue postsecondary education, have a higher grade point average in college, and are less likely to drop out in the first year. Provide your members of Congress with statistics like these and other outcomes from your local area.

You can bring these statistics to life by inviting your members of Congress to visit your school or program. Few things appeal more to a policymaker than seeing taxpayer dollars being well spent--educating members of the community and contributing to economic development. Few things are more effective at making your case than demonstrating your program's and your students' success in person to a member of Congress.

More than providing a showcase for your program and its successes, site visits also provide legislators the opportunity to connect directly with students. …

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