“If you let a person talk long enough, you’ll hear their true intentions! Listen twice, speak once.” – Tupac Shakur
Over the last couple of years in Atlanta, advocacy has been demonized and labeled as a bad thing. One contributing factor to this is that some parents and community stakeholders are using advocacy to “agitate” the system for personal glorification. How we uphold and build culture and community is what makes advocacy a useful tool to educational reform. Culture is one of the most critical pieces to the puzzle of rebuilding a broken public education system. Advocates help partner with school and District leaders to ensure a healthy, collaborative and inclusive school culture. When agitators impose themselves as advocates, it causes school and District leaders not to trust. Breaking the fear of retaliation of stakeholders is one thing, having all voices represented at the table is another. Too often, we hear from adults about the state of education yet forget that the brilliant minds that fill Georgia classrooms have thoughts about how they are educated and engaged. Advocacy empowers everyone to be engaged, connected and to have a voice. Challenging stakeholders and educational leaders isn’t easy but the advocacy should be focused on better educational options for children.
Where do we go wrong with advocacy? What isn’t effective advocacy is children seeing a room full of adults arguing and being disrespectful towards each other. That isn’t how we should show our children to build accountability or handle conflict. These types of actions don’t reaffirm what we spend time and resources on to turnaround school culture. The way we speak to and about each other in the community meetings, in newspaper articles or in our homes doesn’t mirror what we want our children to do. We have to model what we’re advocating for our children. For example, I advocate for family and community engagement. I live it. I’m present with families and in communities. The most beneficial part of this process has been learning and becoming in tune to what the families and communities I serve challenges, dreams and successes are. This has helped me in advocating; not what I desire for families and communities, but what they truly need and want. Being an advocate empowers others to have a voice! It also gives us the privilege of being the voice for the voiceless.
If you’re in Atlanta, please feel free to check out my YouCAN Social Justice and Advocacy Institute that will help parents, students, teachers and stakeholders build awareness around educational equity, economic and voter empowerment. The work of this institute will help effective build family and community engagement around dynamics that will help inform and empower us to use our voices to make the change! Email me at [email protected]
Below are some tips for faculty, staff, families, students and community stakeholders to life their voices for improved educational practices, resources and results from GACAN Advocate, Steven Quinn. Over the past 4 years, Steven has been traveling the State of Georgia, having conversations with people around education issues facing our students. He values these conversations because they really give him perspective. He’s now launching Coffee with Educators. The conversation is informal and focused on education policy. This is a chance to bring the ideas/solutions to the table and discuss what can we can do to help whether it’s policy changes or local district impact. All Georgia Education advocates, please join us for this important discussion.
- Build your base. Get out, interact with and engage your stakeholders.
- Know state and federal legislation that’s up for review and connect your team to building awareness around it.
- Empower parent and students to use their voices!
- Partner with educational organizations.
- Review state and local educational policies that need reform.
Coffee with Educators
July 11th at 10:00am, HodgePodge Coffee, 720 Moreland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316 RSVP HERE
Please feel free to share with like minded educators. If you have a questions or would like to know more please reach out to [email protected]
Georgia YouCAN advocates
Let us introduce you to some awesome advocates working in communities across Georgia. Click here to learn more about the newest cohort and their projects.
Georgia schools like mine
Have you ever wondered how your school compares to others? Well, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement just released a tool to help with just that! See how your school’s performance stacks up here.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.