Wednesday, February 26, 2014


It is not enough to go into our classrooms and just teach.
And is there anything such as just teaching, anyway ?

Not only must we teach in our classrooms or our personal education settings.
Not only must we prepare for our time with our students and  whatever might occur once we enter that learning space.
Not only must we know our content, our context, our students, their parents and families, our community...the wide world.

We must also advocate for what will make all of the above effective in both process and product.
We must also call for positive and compassionate responsiveness to the needs of all involved, with priority on learners.
We must  challenge the status quo if it hinders us from doing our best work.
We must fight for the status quo if the coming changes will wreck our world and that of our learners.

We must speak up. We must speak out.
We must stand with those who can barely stand.
We must speak for those who can't speak for themselves.

February 27 has been designated as NCTE's (National Council of Teachers of English) Literacy Education Advocacy Day.
And March  has been designated as NCTE Advocacy Month.

On February 27 members of NCTE from across the country will be meeting in Washington D.C. to hear from and speak with our nation's legislators and policymakers.
NCTE's 2014 Education Policy Platform outlines some of what members will be saying in these encounters.
Click here to read this year's policy platform and to also access additional  NCTE  Position Statements on a variety of important topics.

You can't go to Washington DC?  There is plenty to do at home
On the NCTE website there is a list to get you started with activities that take as little time as 1 minute, as well as more activities that will take several hours. There are activities that will match the time you have available and are willing to allocate to advocacy on this day.

Click here to get started. with Literacy Education Advocacy Day Activities suggested by NCTE  

A petition is an effective way to initiate change. is a website that enables anyone to implement a grassroots campaign on any legal or social issue.  Check out the current online petitions related to education
 Each one includes an accompanying letter, as well as updates on where the related legal actions currently stand.

What is your concern or passion about Literacy Education?
Start your own online petition here

As educators we don't have to look far to find colleagues standing up and speaking out.  

The teachers at Snowhill Elementary School in Springfield, Ohio  were concerned about  the short time frame provided for teachers of Grades K-3 to be appropriated qualified and credentialled  as specified in Ohio House Bill 555, also known as the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, passed in December 2012. ( I must note that these same teachers do support other portions of the bill  -- early identification and intensive intervention for struggling K-3 readers and also the importance of life-long skill of reading.)

 They feared that teachers would face financial hardships as they raced to complete the required course work and also feared that valuable educational expertise, wisdom and experience would be lost as veteran teachers retired early as a result of the new requirements.

Their story of advocating for what they believe is appropriate and best for their students is told in the current

Ohio Schools  (February 2014) published by Ohio Education Association (OEA).

Read  their story-Advocacy in Action here.

These two resources that may be helpful as you raise your voice and encourage your secondary students to discover and their voices, as well.

And finally, I believe you are never too young to take a stand and advocate for your beliefs, your issues and causes--- your passions.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type details how animals effectively initiated changes to make their farm better. 

This is a perfect book to initiate discussion with younger elementary readers about areas in their classroom, school, or community in which they would  like to see change. 

What actions can they take to initiate these changes?

Today's Deeper Writing Possibility

What is your issue, concern, current cause or passion?

How can you advocate in this area? Possiblities include:
  • Making phone calls or scheduling appointment with  legislators or policymakers.
  • Initiating related petitions
  • Writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper
  • Making speeches
  • Talking to family members, neighbors, and colleagues
What can you add to the list?

Write  a list of talking points  and then write the appropriate text for one of the suggestions above or another option of your own choosing.

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