Magazine article Techniques

Three Perspectives on the 2012 ACTE National Policy Seminar

Magazine article Techniques

Three Perspectives on the 2012 ACTE National Policy Seminar

Article excerpt

The ACTE National Policy Seminar (NPS) is a time for Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) members to meet with Members of Congress or their staff; hear from high-ranking officials in various levels of government, attend educational sessions, network with fellow ACTE members arid more.

I attended my first National Policy Seminar in the spring 011993. Most of the faces at ACTE (then it was the American Vocational Association) and on Capitol Hill have changed, but the purpose of the seminar has remained the same--educating and informing lawmakers and agency staff to the value of what we do. CTE works!

After my first trip to NPS, I wrote a report to my school praising the value of NPS and how beneficial it would be to pass along my experience to those who would be attending NPS in the future. My hope for those of you reading this article is to show you the real benefit in attending NPS through the perspectives of two first-time attendees and one veteran.

I want to thank Candice, Kimberly and Christine for volunteering to document their experiences at NPS. I encourage school boards and administrators to send representatives. The return on your investment to your school and to the profession of career and technical education (CTE) will be immense!

Candice Beasley

I have heard many people say, "My vote doesn't matter," or "Why would Representative So and So listen to me?" or better yet, "You're just talking to an aide, what can they do?" I attended my first NPS with mixed emotions. I was excited that I would have the opportunity to learn more about how ACTE advocates on our behalf. but I was a bit hesitant, too. I knew going into the seminar that I would be sharing my views with you afterward. I also knew we would be making Capitol Hill visits. What if I didn't know what to say to my legislator? Would my voice make a difference? Fortunately, my apprehension was unfbunded. Thanks to information that was presented to us beforehand, and the wonderful network of people I was introduced to, I was able to forge ahead with confidence. I not only made my voice heard, but I also learned how to be even more effective at the local level. This would not have been possible if I had not attended the 2012 ACTE National Policy Seminar in Washington, DC.

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As ACTE members, we are very fortunate to have the Public Policy Department that works constantly on our behalf to make sure that CTE does not get left out or forgotten about on the Hill. Not only are they advocating for us, but they also spend a significant amount of time educating us (those who are willing to listen) on how to speak up for ourselves.

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We are also very strong in our leadership from the top down. ACTE's Board of Directors spends the majority of their free time making ACTE better for us (as members). At the regional and state levels, we are very strong. I am from Oklahoma and our leadership has always been helpful and accommodating, not only with our state and division officers, but with our OKACTE staff as well. I have received calls once or twice from officers asking my opinion. These personal calls were very effective in getting my help. It works the same way with your legislators.

So what does that mean to you? It means getting involved! Your vote does matter, your voice is heard and the aide you just spent 30 minutes talking to is the person who does the research for your legislator--so they really do have input. My experience at NPS was everything I had hoped it would be and more. It reaffirmed my belief that I can make a difference.

Before I became active in my division and in ACTE, I was unsure how I could help or how to be politically active. It was hard for me to make the connection on how to communicate with our legislators until I attended NPS. I would encourage each and every one of you to make the time to attend the 2013 ACTE National Policy Seminar! …

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