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Lobbying: Where to go for more info

There are many different resources and web sites dealing with lobbying and advocacy. One of the best is available from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Despite the American focus, the ASCD’s approaches and strategies are very useful and can be easily adapted to the Canadian structures.

Here are some excerpts from the ASCD’s excellent Advocacy Guide, which can be downloaded from http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/newsandissues/ascdadvocacyguide.pdf:

“Public support for education is increasingly fragile. Poverty jeopardizes the well being and education of our young people. And rather than working constructively on education issues, some communities are caught in a downward spiral of cynicism and mistrust.

The time for advocacy on behalf of students is now. And the voice needed is yours…. The stakes are simply too high for educators not to engage in advocacy efforts.

Like teaching, advocacy involves building respectful relationships as the foundation for change.”

The ASCD Advocacy Kit includes tips on researching education issues, building a network, communicating with your network, setting goals, devising an action plan, setting up community forums, working with the media, and more. Below is another snippet that illustrates how many skills teachers already have to bring to their lobbying work.

Lessons educators can apply to advocacy

Educators, through their professional knowledge of effective teaching, have particular expertise to apply to advocacy efforts. Indeed, on a certain level, advocacy can be viewed as a form of education. Here are just a few of the teaching skills that apply to effective advocacy.

Effective teaching... 

Effective advocacy... 

Requires building trust over time
Is personalized
Employs collaboration
(such as co-operative learning)
Involves meeting learners where they are
Seizes “teachable moments”
Requires solid planning
Builds in ongoing, authentic
assessment of student learning

Requires building trust over time
Is personalized
Employs collaboration
(such as coalition-building)
Involves meeting decision makers where they are
Seizes “windows of influence”
Requires solid planning
Builds in periodic assessment of the efficacy
of advocacy initiatives