Reach Out During Recess: Why August Advocacy Matters


The Advocate - August 2016

Noelle Ellerson, Associate Executive Director
AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Reach Out During Recess: Why August Advocacy Matters

Current trends in education policy may not ensure that every student has recess, but if there is one thing that is certain to happen every year for Congress, it is their recess; their August recess, to be exact.

Each year, Congress adjourns for a month (ish) to be in their home districts, a time to step away from the grind of Washington, DC, and to focus on the issues closer to home and to dialogue with their constituents. In election years—and White House election years in particular—those recesses can last a little longer, and can turn into prime opportunities for school system leaders to campaign and for constituents to highlight the issues that matter to them.

This month’s The Advocate is dedicated to supporting member advocacy while Congress is home for recess. When you make contact with your Congress member or Senator, you could invite them to come visit your school. Use the opportunity to weigh in on any of the variety of federal advocacy policies that are under consideration: school nutrition, ESSA implementation, Perkins Career/Tech education, federal funding/appropriations, regulations and more.

Resources to Support Your Advocacy:

  • Need contact information for the education staffers in your delegation? Contact our team.
  • Talking Points
  • Back to School Tool Kit as prepared in coordination with Learning First Alliance (Use your visit to highlight the success of your school and the nation’s public schools in general)
  • AASA ESSA Resources Library: A living resource designed to support school superintendents in their work to implement ESSA. Congress feels a sense of ownership over ESSA, and ensuring they hear your feedback on how implementation is playing out is one way to hold the department accountable for regulations it issues that are not consistent with the spirit and intent of ESSA.
  • The Leading Edge: This is AASA’s policy blog. It is where we post the latest information. In the last week, we have posted about the latest ADHD guidance, our formal ESSA accountability regulations comments, the final school nutrition competitive foods rule, the forest counties call to action, and a multi-organization letter on ESSA foster care provisions.
  • Follow the advocacy team on Twitter. We share what we are reading, what we are working on, and what we are learning about federal education policy. (@AASAhq, @Noellerson, @SPudelski, @LeslieFinnan)

And, while The Advocate comes from your advocacy team at the federal level, we know that your state legislature and administration are even more deeply involved in education policy conversations. Check with your state affiliate for information and supports related to state-level advocacy.