Educators: Are you talking about this election?

Jess Ledbetter Uncategorized

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Dear educators, this is just a quick post to ask the question, “Are you talking about this upcoming election in the community?” If you aren’t, I believe that you should be. The state election of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Governor, Secretary of State, and other important offices will dramatically influence education in future years. With all the hoop-la of negative ads, there are people out there who don’t know who to vote for–people who don’t know which candidates are good for education. Even worse, these people may not do the research and vote without encouragement.

As teachers, we have a special influence in the community and people do value the opinions of teachers. If you strongly believe that a candidate is the right person for an office, I encourage you to boldly tell others why you think so. I think that teachers have a challenge here because we have an inherent belief that people are entitled to have their own opinions, to make up their own minds. This value, though very noble, keeps us from telling other people our own opinions. Educators, I think that this will lead to our downfall in educational policy.

This year, I have been making intentional attempts to start conversations with people about the election. I encourage them to consider education very carefully when they make their decisions. When the right opportunity comes along, I share my opinions about the people who I believe in for this state. Despite my quickening heart and higher blood pressure during these conversations, no one has had a negative reaction (except me maybe!) People have been interested in my thoughts and shared their own. These conversations have been very stimulating. Most importantly, I remind people that it is very important to vote on November 4th. I tell them the date multiple times and ask how they vote (in person or by mail). I wrap up the conversation by quickly reminding them to think about education when they make election decisions this year.

Educators, don’t waste your influence by maintaining silence this year. There are great ways to have influence in social media, putting up house signs, decorating your car, and talking with people in person. This election counts. Use your voice.

 

I teach preschool students with developmental delays in a Title I school in Glendale, Arizona. I am a National Board Certified Teacher (ENS-ECYA), an Arizona Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow Alumni, and a Candidate Support Provider for teachers seeking their National Board Certification. I earned my doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation at ASU. My research explored how early career special education teachers collaborated with peers to increase their team leadership skills working with paraeducators in their individual classrooms. I believe all teachers are leaders in their classrooms and possess the skills to be leaders within their schools, districts, communities, and greater context. I am passionate about National Board Certification, mentoring early career teachers, improving teacher retention, elevating teacher voice, and collaborating with a network of courageous educators who passionately advocate for kids and schools. I believe that real-life stories from our schools should inform the policies that affect students, teachers, and their communities. Therefore, I am grateful to have the opportunity to share my stories here. I welcome your comments on my blog posts and hope that we can advance the dialogue together.

Comments 2

  1. Sandy Merz

    I recently heard Kristie Mortorelli talk about a discussion she had with a state representative. The woman in question showed her the data on how bad teachers themselves are at voting. It was a sobering discussion. I hope many teachers read this post and get more involved.

  2. Sandy Merz

    I call them 1-minute PDs and they are invaluable. Here are a couple of mine. One year I noticed that a girl was showing marked improvement and I was curious. When I asked her what had made the difference, she said,”Don’t you remember, I asked you if I had a good grade and you said it was lower than the Titanic?” I barely remembered saying it and when I did, I sure didn’t expect to it to have any impact.
    Another girl who had always done average work started showing real mastery of algebra. After a few weeks, I commented on how she was had moved her understanding to a new level. She said, “I just decided to be more committed.”
    I don’t know if that means as much to others. But how often do we, or our students talk about commitment, but really just keep on with what we’re doing. Or how often do we measure our commitment by how much we care instead of how much we give?

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