In three weeks, NCTE members will travel to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to meet with their federal representatives and discuss the 2016 NCTE Education Policy platform. We hope it will be a beautiful day. But even if it snows or pours rain, NCTE will be there.
Last year, NCTE’s Literacy Education Advocacy Day was on March 5, 2015—a day when snow shut down most of Washington, DC. While some adjustments had to be made (we met at the hotel instead of the Capitol Visitors Center and had to shuffle appointments with many legislative offices), the show still went on. A dedicated legislative staffer hiked through the snow to give an insightful talk about the power of real stories to deepen public understanding, and she answered all our questions about how we could best be heard when we went to the hill for visits. NCTE’s director of research, policy and development updated the group on federal policy developments and our platform while invited guests discussed our Assessment Task Force and CCCC policy work.
In the afternoon a group of us headed to the Hill, and because of the snow, most of the offices were virtually empty. That meant NCTE members were given more attention and time to discuss our issues than we probably would have had on a regular day. Several of these meetings led to staff working regularly with these offices over the following months to advance NCTE policy priorities, as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act.
Other participants stayed at the hotel to review data from a recent organizational survey on assessment, and discussed how to use that data as an advocacy tool – gathering ideas, feedback, and enthusiasm.
Advocacy Day 2015 proved that NCTE members are resourceful in the face of change. We all learned a lot and came away feeling energized to do more. We cannot guarantee sunny weather February 25, but we invite you to join us as we meet with staff and legislators on Capitol Hill to discuss our concerns and lend our voice to shape policy. No matter the weather, we will be there.