Educators have a wealth of knowledge that is critical for policymakers to understand to act in the best interests of students, but they aren’t always listened to by those in positions of authority or policy making. The goal of this conversation is to create space for educators to reflect on how they currently advocate, consider how they might like to advocate, discuss current systems and structures to build knowledge around avenues for advocacy, and dream of how we could collectively make sure our voices are heard. Here are some of the questions we’re hoping to tackle: What are our responsibilities as educators to share our learnings and experiences with those in positions of power? Whose voices are currently at the table in our communities and whose are not? What is the landscape of policy structures and systems? And how can individual educators best navigate those to make their voices heard? How can we build power collectively in our schools, communities, and the larger education environment so we don’t each individually feel so alone in trying to meet all of the needs of our learners? What are tools, tricks, and tips that can help influence policy at the local, state, and federal level?
This is a big topic and there are no single correct answers to these questions, so we’ll be very curious to actively ask and listen to what the attendees have to say and to build upon their ideas and input during the session. We plan to set the purpose of the space, give background on why this topic is important, provide some tools, tips, and tricks, and then walk through some questions where we ask participants to reflect on how they currently advocate and why this is important to them too. Then we’ll build upon that reflective foundation to look forward and have participants ideate on how they would like to advocate more and make some commitments about how they can do that. We’ll ask people to share what they’re thinking and to be asking each other questions to help each other clarify their visions.