Harness Your Energy
By Hilary Goldmann
ISTE’s senior government affairs officer, has
20 years of experience
in public policy and
advocacy. Her column
appears in every other
issue of L&L.
ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia was a hive of activ- ity. More attendees participated in advocacy activities than ever before. Even Philly’s mayor
took part in our Voices Carry photo petition.
ISTE members sent more than 3,000 emails to
Congress and created nearly 200 video messages
to show why ed tech matters (see Resources).
Attendees really made their voices carry!
Now we must harness that energy and use
it throughout the coming year. Our collective
advocacy paths must continue to grow, intersect,
and support each other. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just getting started in advocacy,
there are many ways to stay connected with
ISTE and be an active participant. The stakes
are just too high not to be involved. Budget cuts
at federal, state, and local levels are targeting
classroom technology, the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act reauthorization has
yet to be reauthorized, and broadband connectivity is not where it needs to be. Government
officials are demanding that schools implement
online assessments and collect and interpret
data, all of which requires state-of-the-art infrastructure, professional development for teachers
and administrators, and improved digital literacy skills for students.
I encourage you to make a commitment to
step up your involvement in advocacy. A first
step would be to attend a town hall meeting or
other constituent gathering and ask a question
or make a comment about the importance of
classroom technology. Congressional staff tell
me it is important that education advocates be
heard during these state and district gatherings,
as all too often, other issues and interest groups
hold the stage. Additionally, it is an easy way to
make personal contact with a policymaker with-
out having to plan the logistics of the meeting.
Go to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov to find
your policymaker’s website and phone number.
Call the local office and ask for the schedule of
town hall meetings and other constituent gath-
erings. Consider attending an event with some
of your colleagues, and turn it into a fun outing.
ISTE’s advocacy webpage: iste.org/advocacy
ISTE’s advocacy You Tube channel: www.youtube.com/user/
Voices Carry Advocacy Ning group: iste-community.org/
Voices Carry Photo Petition: www.flickr.com/photos/