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Advocacy Month Week 1: What do you wish others understood about literacy?

MegaphoneOn each Friday of Literacy Advocacy Month, NCTE member Cathy Fleischer will guide readers through an exploration of Everyday Advocacy – a resource for educators who are looking for ways to make change. 

Sadly, the ongoing conversation about school reform too often leaves out the voices of teachers—those who are most intimately acquainted with the day-to-day issues that impact students and their learning.  We know these voices are essential ones for policy makers to hear, but we recognize as well the pressures on teachers to remain silent.

How can teachers enter the conversation?  How can teachers do so in ways that are smart, safe, and savvy?  And how can they find the time to do so, given their very busy and very full lives?

These questions are central to NCTE’s new web resource, Everyday Advocacy, a site devoted to helping teachers enter the public conversation in order to create change.  As you look through the site, you’ll see lessons from actual community organizers and examples from real teachers who have taken on an advocacy stance.  You’ll learn how they chose an issue that impacted them in their local contexts, framed that issue to help others understand, found allies along the way, and created a plan that has helped to change minds.

Over this month of advocacy, what if you joined these teachers on the road to become an everyday advocate?  What might you learn from them and their work?  And what could you do—in your own context—to help others understand issues of literacy and literacy education differently?

Over the course of the month, we’ll share some videos and point you to specific sections of the site that you might find useful.  Along the way, we’ll ask you some questions and suggest some steps you might take toward entering the public conversation in order to make change.

Let’s start with this seemingly simple question:  What do you wish others understood about literacy and literacy education?   Think about that question, maybe write a little bit about it, maybe talk to some of your colleagues about it and then read into the first two sections of the site:  Begin and Why Advocacy Matters.  And begin to imagine what it might be like to be an everyday advocate.