In Ed Advocacy, It’s All About the States

How do you raise awareness about educational improvement in the United States?  That is the big question this week over on the National Journal’s Education Experts blog.  Riffing off of some of the education reform activities at the recent political conventions, the folks over at NJ are actually hypothesizing that there is no disagreement on our need to improve.  

Those seeking change and improvement know that is far from the case.  Those forces seeking to defend the status quo, those looking to protect a system that fails millions of kids (particularly kids who are black or brown or poor), will resort to almost anything to stand against those seeking to bring a better public education to all kids.
Dear ol’ Eduflack weighs in on the discussion, focusing on the importance of state-led advocacy, as opposed to national advocacy, to bring the real change we need while respecting our nation’s history of local control in the schools.

At the end of the day, lasting education reform is not going to happen at the national level. As a country, we have too much pride in local control and community involvement in public education. Instead, those changes we seek and need will come because of advocacy at the state level, where the voices of diverse communities can come together and demand common change. One where those diverse voices can leverage their power to demand real change from their governor and legislature, change where the haves and have-nots in the state have access to the same excellent public schools, regardless of race, family income, or zip code.

In Connecticut, we are just now, after nearly a decade of work, starting to see the policy results of such a state-based advocacy approach. The real challenge now is not letting up on the gas, and continuing to speed toward the reforms we need. It means finding common ground with groups we have previously sparred with, and partnering with individuals we have once stood against. It means continue to do what is right, even if that means facing the vitriol and assaults from those who currently benefit from a failed status quo.

Happy reading!

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