Advocacy

The resident physicist has always maintained the view expressed in this article. Physics Should Be First in HSs. In fact, his response on reading it was: “I understood physics better than my High School teacher did. That encouraged me to become a physicist.” In addition this was presented at Alan November’s conference…which I unfortunately had to miss because I was in DC for a meeting of ASCD leaders!

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Public school employees cannot lobby…I used to say when I went to the State House that I was “educating” legislators…I still feel that is a noble service.

I left this document with the aide of the Chair of the Joint Committee on Education: Testimony 3_7_16 about the Common Core and MA’s relationship.

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Advocacy is no longer reserved for the professionals (although if you plan to influence rather than educate legislators, you might consider becoming a registered lobbyist). Everyone today has a way to express his/her opinion. Boston wants public’s help to imagine high schools of the future – Metro – The Boston Globe

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For many years ASCD refused to engage in any advocacy. The fear was that with such a large and diverse membership, they might adopt a position which would be anathema to some of the constituents.

That changed when I was serving on several boards and committees. MASCD (in fact most of the affiliates) followed suit. When I was President, we developed a couple of publications to help members understand and act on important issues. FOCUS provided in-depth reporting about specific issues, e.g. Social Studies Frameworks. SPEAKS was brief (one page, two sides) statement of MASCD’s position on important issues. February 2016 marks a new era in SPEAKS…to help members understand a piece of legislation which may become a ballot question we posted the first SPEAKS in many years. MASCD SPEAKS 2_8_16

And how ironic that a second SPEAKS was published on February 12, 2016, this one on the subject of charter schools. MASCD SPEAKS_2_12_16

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This is a different kind of advocacy but one that is understood very well these days:

Shark Tank, the television show that provides a stage for entrepreneurs looking for support, featured STEM. Now we know the issue of STEM education has become important!

On the December 27, 2015 show, two young women pitched their “product” and succeeded in attractive two offers and accepted the offer of Lori Greiner: http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/episode-guide/season-07/6-week-6-rent-like-a-champion-hotshot-windcatcher-stem-center-usa

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A college student reviewing this website, found two broken links for which I thank her, and asked if two organizations she has volunteered with could be listed. These are health related organization which are “lobbying” people to change bad health habits. Since girls often go into the health related fields when they consider STEM careers, it seems worthwhile to include them here: QuitDay.org, who has a great guide on quitting smoking for IT professionals (https://quitday.org/support/it-professionals-health/) and the American Lung Association, who also supports quitting for health benefits (http://lung.org/). The link to their home page is https://quitday.org/ Also check out https://quitsmokingcommunity.org.

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Thinking about advocacy reminded me of  The Conference for High Schools: Thinking About Tomorrow: Taking The Next Steps, organized by EDCO, MASCD, MSSAA and The Regional Lab with the help of  Apple (which lent us 35 Powerbooks–some brought in from other states so we could capture each team’s metaphors, scenarios, concept papers, flow charts–however the learning could be captured) on September 30 to October 2, 1993. to help high schools think about how to organize themselves to use technology appropriately and effectively. This was around the time when I was working with the president of MITRE Corporation, Barry Horowitz. Stephanie Pace Marshall, president of ASCD and ED of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, IL, was a speaker.

I still have a  4 inch 3 ring binder with a copy of all the materials we prepared. At the top of the concept paper I am pretty sure I drafted, is a quotation whose origins I need to look up: “We cannot add wings to a caterpillar and get a butterfly.” That  metaphor inspired the drawing on the cover of the program which also stated “the emergence of a New Partnership Paradigm.” That idea came from Acton-Boxborough’s (my then Superintendency although planning started when I was in Easton) Faculty Externship program…another story for another time.

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I also remembered but could not locate the first MASS position paper on Charter Schools. I was the lead writer and had forgotten that a couple of colleagues from 1994, whom I still see today, were members of the committee which wrote the paper. It is far more complex than I recalled. I thank the staff at MASS for locating and mailing me a hard copy and the Vice President of IKZAdvisors for scanning it: Charter Schools and their impact on the other public schools.

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The work in Iowa is extremely rewarding. This was published in the April 18, 2015 issue of the STEM Connector’s Daily: STEM Council Awards Scale Up Programs Across Iowa.

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The MA Governor’s STEM Advisory Council sent a letter re STEM support to the Legislature signed by the members to solicit support for the pipeline fund.

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I had the opportunity to attend the hearing at the State House in front of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, The Honorable Brian Joyce, Chairman. Although I could not remain to testify orally, I did leave the attached testimony with the Committee. The bill provides bonded revenue for schools to update their technology infrastructure.

At the meeting sponsored by the MBAE at Microsoft in Cambridge on March 24, 2014, Michael Barber presented a report he and a colleague conducted for the MBAE which called for a new reform agenda. The report made the national scene in Education Week, April 2 edition,Despite Lofty Scores, Massachusetts Advised to Set New Ed. Goals.

At the meeting of the Board of Directors of MassCUE on 9/27/13, the issue of the reauthorization of the e-rate was raised. With the help of ISTE, MassCUE spent time at the State House and received acknowledgment and support.

BEST (Business and Education for Schools and Technology) admired Maine’s one to one initiative. Many of us visited in the early days and then tried to  convince MA  to follow suit. Now there is a multi-state movement. What a good idea. Ed Week featured this story, ME Leading Initiative_Multistate Tech Buys, in the March 13, 2013 edition.

But about BEST, the website that was developed can now be viewed from this website’s splash page. It is the last link in the right hand column.

Incorporating Computer Science in MA Education

At the MA Technology Leadership Council meeting on March 12, 2013, Kelly Powers and her students and colleagues made an effective plea to the Governor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHPQ7pqgBpQ

The Working Group for Educator Excellence (WGEE) through its committee called IDEA (Information, Dissemination, Education, Advocacy) is working on enabling legislation that is being proposed in May 2013, led by Senator Hariette Chandler.

Summaries of Selected Reports. The last few years have seen the publication of many reports and proposals for dealing with the challenge posed by the current insufficient numbers of STEM trained employees to fill all the open positions in the Commonwealth and the nation. A subsequent and significant challenge is to act on the recommendations from the reports. While there are many complementary and reinforcing ideas, the sheer quantity is a bit overwhelming. And winning the support of the appropriate decision/policy makers is a challenge and an opportunity. Research and studies bolster proposals for funding and support. That is why the reports are included in the advocacy section. These summaries were written for MA STEM Summit attendees (all are in pdf format with the Summit logo):

The PDF files on this page require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.