Professional Development 1
President's Message from Stephen Armstrong,
National Council for the Social Studies
You Are the Advocate
For many social studies teachers working in the classroom, the statement that they should be engaged in “advocacy” for their profession sounds strange or scary. Many social studies teachers are told by their administrators not to let students know what their political positions are on local referendum issues, elections, etc., with an implication that all personal politics is to be dampened. In addition, many teachers perceive “advocacy” to be something that a few NCSS leaders might do off in Washington, DC; something with little connection to what they actually are doing in the classroom every day.
I have news for you: teachers have a constitutionally protected right to do important advocacy outside of the classroom, and it all begins at the local level. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the 30-year veteran—or the first-year teacher—talking to his or her state legislator or city/town council member on the value and importance of social studies education. With politics and budgets being as they are today, a large amount of legislative action that will directly impact social studies education is likely to take place at the local and state levels, and even national policy has its source at the grass roots.
Better than just lobbying a council member, begin by inviting him or her to speak to your classes or to help judge a Geography Bee competition. Successful advocates will tell you that building up this relationship is infinitely helpful.
Many teachers who go into a state legislator’s office for the first time fear that they won’t remember “everything that needs to be said.” Or, conversely, they are unclear just what to ask for. You may have only 10 or 15 short minutes to “make your case” (I have learned by this point to NOT take this time restriction personally). You might begin by briefly “Telling your story,” showing how social studies is important for your students. If you have a specific example of a student in your classes being positively impacted by what he or she did in your classes, tell that memorable story. Then, be prepared and ask for something specific. Don’t just ask for “more money for social studies,” rather, ask your legislator (or their aid, if the official is unavailable) to support a specific bill, initiative, or line item on a budget. Make sure you leave your card with the person you are speaking to, with assurances that you are available. Then, send a follow up note (not an email) to the person that you spoke with, thanking that person for his or her time.
Further hints: Advocate for all of the core disciplines of social studies, K-12. Since many legislators are especially interested when civics or civic education is mentioned, make sure that topic is covered. Coordinate with your local or state council leaders, and encourage others to do the same thing you are doing. Visit in groups of three or four, and rehearse your message before you arrive, and be sure you have a clearly articulated, central request.
Advocacy is not just something done by a few NCSS folks in Washington. The best advocacy is done by classroom teachers in their relationships with local and state officials. It’s never too late to begin!
Training of Writers Program Council for Economic Ed
The Council for Economic Education is seeking dynamic math, economic and personal finance educators to participate in the CEE Math and the Real World, Training of Writers program.
The Council for Economic Education is seeking outstanding math, economic, and personal finance educators who have the commitment and support to continue developing high-quality economic, and personal finance education instructional materials after completing this program. Successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to economic education, personal finance, and to working with their state council and/or local center for economic education.
The program is scheduled to take place in St Louis, MO., December 11–15, 2013. Participants will be expected to engage in intensive writing activities before, during, and after the workshop and will be required to field-test the lesson they develop in local classrooms. The program requires a commitment to complete lesson writing assignments and field testing between November 2013 and June 2014.
After the workshop, participants will be required to develop lessons that use an active-learning approach and online interactive. Faculty will provide feedback to participants for the improvement of their lessons, and they will work intensively with writers on improving their lessons to a publishable online form with interactive.
The program overview and the application form is available online here.
Colorado Holocaust Educators and Echoes and Reflections
Attached is information regarding a joint Colorado Holocaust Educators and Echoes and Reflections (a combined curriculum of the Anti-Defamation League, the USC Shoah Foundation, and Yad Vashem) teacher training on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at the University of Denver.
This is a very unique opportunity and were are very pleased to be a part of it. Even if you have taken a Colorado Holocaust Educators or Echoes and Reflections training in the past, new curriculum is being presented. There will also be a survivor testimony at the conclusion of the training. As always, food and materials will be provided, as well as 8 CDE clock hours.
We anticipate this event filling up fast as it is being advertised nationally and is a first of it's kind. Do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or call me at 720-210-4374.
Registration is open on http://coholo.org under the registration icon on the home page. In addition, please check our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/coholo.org as we post on our page daily and will have additional information about this training from week to week.