I Advocate for my District—Do You?

Jill Fennessy

By Jill Fennessy, MASB Governmental Relations Committee Chair

DashBoard, April 19, 2017

As a school board member, I believe my responsibilities include having an awareness of what's happening in Lansing and in Washington, D.C. Communicating with our legislators about issues that are important to education can have a positive impact on schools and all students. Our collective voices have been shown to affect change when some of the proposed bills that may have had a negative impact on our ability to educate students didn’t pass.

I realized the positive impact of advocacy again while attending the NSBA Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. I returned home with the confidence to begin communicating with our state and federal legislators following the realization of something we have in common—we are all elected officials, and just like we appreciate hearing from those in our district, legislators appreciate hearing our voices too.

What: MASA/MASB Legislative Conference

When: May, 2017, 7:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (afternoon available to visit with your legislators, attend session or a committee meeting)

Where: Radisson Hotel, Lansing

Who: School board members, superintendents, administrators and other education advocates

How: Register Here Today!

We are the best advocates for our districts and our students, and our Michigan legislators need to hear our voice. If you’re unsure about how to get started or feel intimidated by the process, I would recommend attending the upcoming MASA/MASB Legislative Conference. This event provides a venue for our members and school administrators to show a united front to our state legislators and to emphasize the importance of public education.

Additional benefits of attending include:

  • Putting a face with a name—I have found this to be especially helpful when calling legislative offices on matters related to pending legislation.
  • Making personal connections, both with legislators, staff and fellow board members—learn about other districts and possibly gain new ideas for your own.
  • Opportunities to see our state government in action—attend a legislative session or committee meeting in the afternoon, or possibly tour the Capitol building.
  • Getting the most current information directly from the “horse’s mouth”—my district finds this helpful in our short- and long-term planning.

I’m planning to be there, are you?

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