LOBBY DAY ADVOCACY MEETING/ISSUE: HOZA 1 Checklist for Meeting: Date: 2-21-2011 Location: Columbia Room Time: 1:30 pm Who: Eric Pedigrew with The League of Education Voters Foundation What: Ethnic Education Summit Focus of Meeting: to advocate for equal education opportunity and increasing success in schools and educate attendants how to lobby for this issue, Excellent Schools Now movement Observe: -Use of space: the whole Columbia Room was filled with rectangular tables covered in green tablecloths, space was limited for moving around but attendants did not seem to mind -Seating arrangements: along rectangular tables, all facing toward podium, some sitting along the edge of room in free chairs -Power structures: there were three speakers at this time; they stood in front of the room. They were dressed in suits (professional attire), assistants standing around the edge of the room helping distribute handouts, but power divisions were not obvious, very relatable to crowd -Style of interactions: very light atmosphere, people openly asked questions and were answered directly with respect, inspirational discussions -Opportunity for citizen involvement: attendants asked questions, were heard by those running the meeting, other people from audience would chime in, very open discussion -Potential for advocacy/ Social change: an incredible amount -Analysis of group to meet their goals: willing to persevere, “The bill is dead, the issue is not” -Suggestions for improvement: increase diversity in room -Important quotes/info: -Issue is important to bring up whether or not the bill goes through -Achievement gap between ethnic groups in schools -Schools need to take small steps, low cost -People are laid off because of seniority of those remaining -Open for involvement from crowd -Teacher spoke up to ask questions of teacher involvement with this movement and the new standards based education influence on movement -Teachers have been involved in movement and asked for expert opinions -House Bill 1609 -Senate Bill 5399 LOBBY DAY ADVOCACY MEETING/ISSUE: HOZA 2 Attending the Ethnic Educational Summit at the Legislative Building in Olympia was an insightful meeting both in atmosphere and in substance. The meeting was located in the Columbia Room for many hours on February 21, however I attended the meeting at 1:30 pm for the portion on Excellent Schools Now, which lasted until 2:30 pm. The League of Education Voters assembled the meeting in order to advocate for underprivileged and ethnic student’s constituents, guardians, and friends, to take action in voting and lobbying for these movements to happen in legislation. The atmosphere of the meeting was definitely welcoming especially as the smell of fried chicken filled my senses as I entered the room. This banquet style of gathering allowed the attendants to feel welcome, safe, and comfortable in such a formal place (The Capital). This circular shaped room was filled with rectangular tables covered in green tablecloths with multiple chairs accompanying each table. The attendants were situated very close to each other, but seemed comfortable with the proximity. A podium was situated at the front of the room where those leading the meeting stood, and assistants were placed throughout the room to help pass out handouts and literature for guests. Additional seating was offered on the perimeter of the room. The meeting began with Representative Eric Pettigrew speaking on the importance of action on the issue of closing the achievement gap between ethnic students in public schools. The speaker was African American and was able to connect with those in the crowd on a very personal level. He was both professional and personable, which made a great impact on and built trust within the attendants. Each speaker advocating on the issue were eloquent and clearly well informed. They were able to connect with the audience and openly welcomed input and questions. It was incredibly interesting to watch how advocates interacted with attendants to the meeting versus the demeanor of Senators or Representatives. The advocates were personable and LOBBY DAY ADVOCACY MEETING/ISSUE: HOZA 3 very passionate for what they were advocating for and were there to give helpful tips and tools to help the attendants gain confidence in approaching their legislatures and Representatives to lobby. Throughout the meeting, it was clear how there was elevated potential for the League of Education Voters to meet their goals (building constituent support and lobbying for these issues). Because this meeting landed on the cut-off date for bills to be passed through to legislation, the group leaders already knew that the specific bills they had try to pass did not get through. Although the bill was no longer on the table, the group was still positive and remained motivated to keep speaking about the issues. One of the most poignant quotes that I heard while in attendance was, “The bill is dead, the issue is not.” This was extremely encouraging to hear and extremely important because it contrasted many other meetings that were run on Lobby Day. In other meetings, the leaders would express how there is literally nothing for the people to do after the cut-off date. In this meeting, there couldn’t have been more of a push to keep the issue alive and in conversations. The leaders of the meeting compiled a fact sheet for the constituents to take to their representatives, and key points to discuss. Through question and answer periods, the attendants seemed to feel extremely supported and more confident in supporting the issue actively. Although this particular meeting seemed to have immense potential, I do believe there could have been more efforts to gain a more diverse crowd of attendants. While I was in the room, I felt the power of the African American community, and I experienced being of the minority in the room. I would suggest though, that there be greater efforts to build a more diverse crowd in order to gain allies for the issue. I feel as though there is much power and potential for this ethnic association to gain allies to help support and reiterate the importance of this issue to the greater population. Lobby Day was incredibly insightful and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend. LOBBY DAY ADVOCACY MEETING/ISSUE: HOZA 4 Fact Sheet on House Bill 1609: One of the Bills that the League of Education Voters is attempting to pass is a bill affecting the standards for teachers in public schools, which in turn will help decrease the achievement gap. Pros: 1. Only teachers with high performance records would remain in schools when budget cuts need to be made. 2. Principals and teachers empowered to create a more nourishing and challenging culture to close achievement gap. 3. Principals will also be held to standards defined in legislation. 4. Lower the amount of tenured teachers to remain in schools if they are declining in performance (still held accountable after reaching tenure track). 5. Contracts of teachers who do not perform well will be non-renewed. 6. Education standards will be hired and motivation to keep performance at a higher level will become of importance. 7. High school students will be required to pass assessments with a particular score instead of having a “free ride.” 8. Will provide alternative routes for Principals to be certified. 9. Give communities more freedom to alter the education to meet student’s needs to raise them to higher grade levels. Cons: 1. Tenure track professionals will have less of their acquired privileges. 2. More evaluation and testing of teachers (may cost more money). 3. The schools may be leveled differently creating a bit of imbalance in the schooling system. 4. Standards testing may need to change. I support this House Bill to be passed because I think that many times tenure track teachers take a back seat after they accomplish the goal of becoming tenured. Additionally, I have noticed that standards are lowered for various ethnic groups in schools, which only increases and continues the growth of the achievements gaps in schools.