The Election is Over: Now What? Attracts Enthusiastic Advocates
A small but enthusiastic group of public-school supporters attended our November 15 hands-on workshop focused on advocacy. Susie Kaeser explained the goal for the evening: to build commitment, confidence and skills as public school advocates and to leave with a personal advocacy plan.
Tom Schmida summarized the lack of significant change in the legislature and statewide offices in Ohio. We have our work cut out for us but our voices are no less important.
Thanks to Dan Bobeczko for developing talking points for advocates to use on key concerns.
We are grateful to school board members Dan Heintz and Malia Lewis for sharing great tips about communicating with them in the public space of a school board meeting and in the community. Don’t use facebook or text.Their district email is the best option if you want a response since it complies with sunshine law requirements. Community members are encouraged to bring their concerns to the board during public comment. But don’t expect a discussion or a response because sunshine laws require that only business that is listed on the official agenda can be addressed.
School board members are listeners; they want to hear public concerns and satisfaction. They appreciate time to understand a concern;welcome suggestions for solutions; can direct you to the person who may have greatest success solving your concern; will often agree with you.
Tom Schmida and Jan Resseger stepped in for State SenatorSandra Williams, to talk about strategies for addressing elected officials at the state level. Be prepared; be polite; be brief; have a specific ask. Your message matters. Understand who you are talking to and what they care about. It will help you craft your message. It’s worthwhile to reach out to someone who supports your views to solidify your connection. That may lead to more results than trying to influence someone who cannot be swayed. Showing up matters and so does speaking up.
Participants agreed to take some important action:
- Collect more endorsers for the Coalition position
- Attend school board meetings
- Friend the Coalition on Facebook
- Respond to action alerts as needed during the legislature’s lame duck session
- Continue the conversation about education challenges
- Get more foot traffic in the schools and make them the center of the community
- Have students make a presentation about their thoughts about testing
- Keep writing a blog on education
- Keep writing a column on education
- Read the Testing Charade and attend our discussions of the book
Thanks to all who joined the conversation. We look forward to all the ways you will stand for public education and policies that support children and strengthen this essential public institution.