Advocacy By Educators

Most teachers, counselors and school administrators work from pre-dawn to after dark. Intensely focused on their daily responsibilities and the students in front of them, educators have little time to engage in education advocacy. Yet, it’s important that educators find the time to serve as advocates and for their profession and for public education. The mass and social media often point out flaws in the educational system but fall short on highlighting solutions and successes that educators see and face every day.

To prepare for advocacy work, educators can keep the following in mind:

Paradigm – Having the right mindset is paramount to effective advocacy.  Advocates, however, go beyond believing that every child deserves a quality education, regardless of their zip code. They see advocacy as part of what it means to be an educator.

Choose to advocate – Advocacy implies action, which can be as informal as a one-on-one conversation with a parent or as formal as preparing public comments for local school board.  Education advocates make the conscious choice to become leaders and ambassadors for public education, and to become change agents. Advocates can choose an advocacy path based on their own community, interests, passions, goals or schedule.

Inquisitiveness – Advocates ask questions, do research, and look for solutions.  They wonder out loud and imagine possibilities. They look for better ways to improve student achievement.

Get connected – Advocates join networks and communities like the Center for Teaching Quality, and National Writing Project, These networks can also provide the space, support, and professional learning educator-leader advocates need to get started.

Become a Core Advocate – The Core Advocates Program engages educators with the knowledge and resources they need to support teachers and students. Advocates team up with other educators who are authoring curriculum and leading professional learning efforts regionally and across the country.

PTA – Join and become involved in your school’s or community’s PTA. Parents and teachers often work together to find solutions to the challenges.

School Board – Stay informed on the issues facing your local school board, and learn which trustees align with your interests and passions.  Attend school board meetings, get to know your trustees and advocate for education. 

Blog – Advocates read blogs and informally share positive stories, post a comment and share it with others via social media or email, snap pictures, craft captions, and publish them to their school or district’s website in addition to social media. Advocates start their own blog, class website, or author an op-ed about what’s working (or what’s needed) in their school or community.  Advocates invite readers to comment on challenges and then work on finding solutions.

Tweet – For beginner advocates or those pressed for time, tweeting is an easy way to connect with other education advocates and share ideas, expertise and information. There are dozens of Twitter chats led by and for education advocates and teacher-leaders who share a passion for the profession and student achievement: