Billion dollar gaps in public education funding. Postponing standardized testing for this year. Accountability. Private school vouchers. COVID-19 safety. These are just a few of the challenges educators are facing right now. The 2021 Legislative Session is back in full swing and there’s never been a better time for CEA members to collectively rise up to advocate for the schools students and educators deserve. One way members can do that is by participating in back home lobbying; engaging with their legislators and letting them know they should be listening to the true experts in public education: the professionals in the classroom. Back home lobbying also helps build deep and authentic relationships between local elected officials and constituents. Legislators need to know about the issues that matter most to students, parents, educators and communities.
Lobbying is a way to share personal stories and solutions with elected officials to increase their understanding about a specific issue educators care about. Engaging elected officials through meetings, writing letters, making phone calls, attending and hosting events, ensures educator voice is heard to support students, communities and the education profession. Lobbying is a way for educators, students, parents, and community members to share personal stories and to advocate for a particular bill or issue on behalf of public education.
There are many things members can do to lobby elected official including including meeting one-on-one with them or with a group (keeping social distancing in mind, of course), hosting or participating a virtual town hall event, engaging with them on social media, and writing an op-ed or letter to the editor to the local paper to shine light on the public education issues that matter most. Contact your local association to find out their plan for lobbying local elected officials this legislative session.
You are difference makers and lobbying elected officials couldn’t be easier. The only requirements are to be knowledgeable and passionate about public education and the issues that affect you, your students and your classroom, bus, cafeteria, etc. Elected officials are normal people and they want to hear from you. Always remember the legislator’s job is to represent you.