If you’re new to this effort, the first step is to visit our Where to Start page for basic background information about what’s happening our public schools.
If you are ready to start advocating for your child, a good place to start is with your child’s teacher. Request an in-person meeting if you are able to do that. Discuss your specific concerns from both yours and your child’s perspective. A positive relationship with your child’s teacher is key to bringing about change, so be sure to approach the teacher without any animosity or blame. It’s important for them to know how parents feel so they will know they aren’t alone.
Next, if appropriate, contact the Principal at your child’s school. Again, approach with no animosity or blame for the administration, the school or the teacher. We all need to work together. Try to understand his or her position or perspective, and ask what you can do to help make things better for your child and for all children.
A lot of teachers and administrators are fighting this just as much as parents (and many of them are parents themselves). Some of them fear for losing their job if they speak up, so they may be hesitant to let parents know if they agree with them. That’s why it’s important for parents to be their voice.
For additional talking points, please contact us.
Many school and district administrators do not realize the damages that education reform is having on the classroom, and especially on our teachers and students. It’s important for them to hear directly from teachers with specific examples. Often, administrators are under pressure from the school districts and feel obligated to stay quiet. The more teachers share their experiences with their admins, the more likely they are to help advocate for change. If you experience retribution for sharing your opinions or speaking up, please contact your local classroom teachers association for assistance and advice.
Advocacy Beyond the School
An important body of decision-makers that need to hear from us is our school district leadership. These are elected officials, and their job is to represent their constituents (you!). Tell them about yours and your child’s experience, and ask that they advocate for change at the state level. Give them specific things you don’t like and want them to advocate for (i.e. remove the high stakes from testing, revise the Florida Standards etc.). Most districts have email addresses listed on their web sites. You can also send letters, make phone calls, attend school board meetings, and even meet one-on-one with school board members if you are able. To contact your district leadership, find your district on our District Resources page.
It’s equally important to advocate at the state level. Our state representatives are the ones who are making most of the decisions about education reform in Florida. Visit our State Resources page to join groups and find contact information for your state representatives. Let them know what you don’t like about education, and that you hold them responsible. Request in-person meetings if you are able. Frequent phone calls and emails can also be effective.
And finally, representatives at the national level also hold decision-making power. Visit our National Resources page to join groups and find contact information for your area’s representatives.
Our blog will contain talking points and calls to action. You can also join groups at the district level to join other parents and teachers.
Note about emailing public officials and staff
Florida has an open public records law, and therefore any email you send to a public official is public record. This includes school staff, School Board members, legislators, district staff and state staff. If you prefer that your communication remain confidential, it is recommended that you request an in-person meeting or a phone call.