Magazine article Techniques

Summer's Here: Time to Advocate

Magazine article Techniques

Summer's Here: Time to Advocate

Article excerpt

SUMMER IS ON THE HORIZON, A GOOD TIME TO think about building or strengthening a relationship with your elected Washington, D.C., representatives. Many Federal legislators and their staff are back home and more accessible during the summer months. This year's Congressional August recess is scheduled August 6-September 8, an especially good time to plan a meeting or event.

Even though many teachers and administrators work year-round, time away from school during the summer months may offer better opportunities to advocate and learn about your federal representatives. Following are a few suggestions as you think about how to amplify the career and technical education (CTE) message and the value of your programs.

Ask For a Town Hall Meeting

A Town Hall meeting is a community gathering used to obtain suggestions or feedback on public policies. Although this type of meeting is often broad in nature, it may be a good way to activate other voices in your community concerning the importance of CTE. Encourage your Members of Congress to host and attend a Town Hall meeting. Invite representatives outside of school, such as business and industry, who can ask questions and speak about the importance of CTE during the meeting. Or suggest that the Member of Congress center the Town Hall meeting on a central theme of competitiveness or workforce preparedness.

Invite Members of Congress to Visit Your School

One of the best ways to influence or reinforce opinion is to show a Member of Congress firsthand the difference that your programs are making in the lives of students. If your school is meeting during the summer months, invite your two senators and one representative to tour your facilities when they are home. Emphasize both the academic and technical training that CTE offers. A letter faxed to the Member's scheduler, followed by a phone call to the Washington, D.C., or local office, is the best way to begin this process. If the Member of Congress cannot make a visit, ask that staff visit.

Bring the Kids

What better advocates for CTE than students who benefit from the programs? If your school's administration is supportive, encourage your students to speak about the benefits of CTE and the relevancy it has provided in their education, or allow them to accompany you to a meeting or event. Students may not be able to speak about the specifics of federal programs but they can help to reinforce your message by providing living examples of CTE success. …

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