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Advocacy and Grassroots 101

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  1. Advocacy and Grassroots 101 Noelle Ellerson Making Connections June 2013

  2. Things to Focus on… • It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint • Relationships, Not Just Substance • Systems, Not Just Meetings and Letters • Information, Not Just Lobbying • Putting your School District’s best foot forward

  3. The Legislative Process: How a Bill Becomes a Law House Senate Bill introduced Bill introduced Referred to E&L Committee Referred to HELP Committee House Floor Consideration Senate Floor Consideration Conference Committee Full House Approves Full Senate Approves Signed by the President

  4. What is Going On? • Regulations • Authorizations and Reauthorizations • Budget/Appropriations • Hearings/Mark Ups

  5. A Quick Word About Money • At the federal level there are two processes: • Budget – where the amount of money to be spent is set. • Fight for the maximum amount of $ available for education. • Appropriations – where individual program funding levels are set. • Fight for specific education programs.

  6. How to Move Forward • Every district must identify issues within federal education policy to weigh in on. • You can use the AASA Legislative Agenda and policy briefs as a starting point. • Make sure to use as many local references as possible. Anecdotes! • Be sure to talk about areas you would like to change and areas that have helped you.

  7. Questions to Think About • What legislators, staff, andofficials come from the areas served by your school district? • Who are their education staff? • Which of these individuals are also on relevant committees or in leadership positions? • Are there committee staff I should meet?

  8. Teachers and Leaders Have the Best Ideas on How to Improve Schools Who do you think would have the best ideas about how to improve schools? Other 8% Think Tank Researcher 7% Professor 8% Local Teacher 53% Local school leader 24% Included in “Other” Political Candidate 3% Federal Official 2% None of the above 2% Not Sure 1% Ipsos/AASA Poll March 2004

  9. Putting the Strategy into Action Examples: • DC Meetings • State/Local Meetings • National Meetings • Meeting Invitations • General Mailing List (Snail mail or email) • Telephone Calls and Letters

  10. What to Expect in a DC Meeting • Though a meeting may be with a member, always know things come up. • Education staffers tend to be young. • Do not expect meeting rooms. You may meet in the member’s office or even a hallway passage. • Meetings can range in time from 15 minutes to an hour. • Be sure to get in your three main points. • Follow up with any necessary additional information.

  11. Some Further Wisdom • Best place to advance education is in a school. • Invite your legislators and their staff to visit your schools. • Best times to meet: • President’s Day recess • Easter Recess • Memorial Day recess • August Recess • Work to establish a strong relationship, especially with the education staffers.

  12. Best Practices? Let’s take a minute to talk about the experiences that you have had…

  13. Where Do We Go From Here? • Use your professional organizations, both state and national. • Make the first call, send the first email. • Keep issues on the front burner in your communities to help create the dialogue. • 15 minutes a month (less than 5 minutes a week) is all it takes to place a call or send an email to your Senators and Representative There is a long road ahead….

  14. Things to Think About… • Get involved, make a call, don’t assume that someone else will do it! • Be prepared to talk about how policies and laws are impacting your district. • Invite your members into your schools and show them what you are doing.

  15. AASA Advocacy Resources • The Leading Edge Blog: www.aasa.org/aasablog.aspx • Legislative Corps: Weekly Summary • Advocacy Network: Monthly Advocacy Update • Legislative Trends Report • Policy Insider • Twitter: @Noellerson; @SPudelski

  16. Other Advocacy Resources: Newspapers & Blogs • EdWeek: www.edweek.org • Politics K12 Blog: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/ • Education Finance 101: http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/ • National Education Policy Center: http://nepc.colorado.edu/ • Politico, The Hill, Roll Call

  17. Other Resources: Data & Policy • NCES: http://nces.ed.gov/ • Rockefeller Institute of Government: http://www.rockinst.org/ • Education Commission of the States: http://www.ecs.org/html/issuesK12.asp • Thomas (Library of Congress): thomas.loc.gov

  18. Any Questions? Noelle Ellerson Assistant Director, Policy Analysis and Policy (703) 875-0764 nellerson@aasa.org