Educators from 30 states convened in Washington, D.C. on January 22nd to attend the Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA), one of the annual conferences and training opportunities of ASCD. Representing Alabama ASCD were: Ashley Catrett, President; Brenda Rickett, President-elect; Jane Cobia, Executive Director; and Mitchie Neel, Secretary. The three day conference was a whirl wind of sessions, meetings, networking, and opportunities to be advocates for education. Understanding education policy, use of social media to share positive stories about educators and students, the new ASCD legislative agenda, ESSA updates and information, changes ahead in federal education policy, and networking opportunities to discuss important issues facing educators were are all included in the conference agenda.
The 2017 ASCD legislative agenda focuses on three key points. The first is “Ensuring Equity”, which features that “all children deserve to develop to their fullest potential… to ensure that they are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.” Meeting the needs of each student in the five areas identified ensure the whole child is the focus of educator efforts. The second tenet in the agenda is “Promoting Excellence” which maintains that “no matter where they attend school, all students must be provided a safe, healthy, and accepting learning environment and a rigorous, high-quality, and personalized academic program.” The last component of the 2017 agenda is “Promoting Educators.” “As the most significant in-school factors for student achievement, teachers and school leaders deserve the support and resources to maximize student learning outcomes and prepare our young people for the future.” Educators must be equipped to deliver the best educational experience possible for our students. They must be acknowledged and appreciated for the work they do. They need the appropriate support to provide outstanding teaching and learning experiences.
The highlight of the conference was the last day when members of Congress were visited. Your Alabama ASCD delegation worked to schedule appointments with all of the offices of our Alabama Representatives and Senators. Ashley, Brenda, Jane, and Mitchie visited the offices and shared with our Congressional members key issues relating to Alabama educators, focusing on the importance of curriculum and instruction to positively impact our students. Congressional offices visited included Robert Aderholt, Bradley Byrne, Morris Brooks, Gary Palmer, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, and Terri Sewell. A special thank you goes to Congressman Mike Rogers, who met personally with the delegation! Legislative assistants conducted the rest of the meetings and all were very interested to hear from us. The group also met with the legislative assistant for Senator Richard Shelby. The meeting scheduled with Senator Sessions was cancelled due to the impending confirmation of him as the nation’s Attorney General. The group was thrilled and pleased to have met with all of our active Congressional representatives during the day so we could share with them important issues facing Alabama educators.
There are many ways to advocate for education and impact our students! Your Alabama ASCD is working to be a part of the conversation of the future of education in Alabama and our nation to ensure we remain focused on our students. As educators we have no mission to deliver without our students. Share your success stories, challenges, and concerns. We plan to in the coming months and hope you will be a part of this effort! Keep informed by following Alabama ASCD through our social medial platforms! Like us on Facebook: Alabama ASCD. Follow us on Twitter: @AlabamaASCD. Join us on Instagram: alabamaascd. Our website address is alabamaascd.org. We are currently exploring various aspects of leadership using #leadandadvocate. Join this conversation and be a part of advocating for our students!
Mitchie Neel, Alabama ASCD Secretary