How to advocate for your profession and your students
The people we elect to represent us through our democratic form of government, especially at the state level, control public school funding, educator certification standards, educator salaries, curriculum, graduation requirements, school ratings, retirement benefits, working conditions and just about every other aspect of public education. Their decisions are based on what they learn from constituents, organizations and lobbyists, which means those who care about public education issues cannot afford to be silent participants. Educators must advocate their priorities or risk allowing others to shape policy in ways harmful to their interests and those of their students.
Most important: Voting
Listen to what ATPE State President Cory Colby says about the importance of voting!
The first and foremost duty of a public education advocate is to vote in every election. Fulfilling just this duty alone makes you as powerful as any professional advocate. That’s because your vote is your voice.
Voting gives you:
- A stake in your elected officials’ business. They need votes to stay in office.
- Credibility. Elected officials are expected to listen to what voters say.
- A way to hold your lawmakers accountable. Your vote is a way of endorsing or rejecting the actions taken by incumbents.
So get in the habit of voting in every election, even local elections. Visit ATPE’s nonpartisan advocacy website TeachtheVote.org
for additional resources on elections and information that will help you be an informed, pro-public education voter.
The next level
Taking your political involvement to the next level need not involve as large of a commitment as you might think. ATPE offers a variety of resources to help even the busiest educators support their profession. Our advocacy program consists of four basic components—communication, the employment of professional lobbyists and legislative consultants, fundraising and grassroots activism—all of which work together to promote the ATPE Legislative Program
- ATPE’s premier resource for communication about education issues, elections and advocacy is our groundbreaking website, TeachtheVote.org.
- We employ seven full-time lobbyists, including a former education committee chairman. Our lobbyists work year-round in Texas and in Washington, D.C., to represent ATPE’s interests.
- Our political action committee, ATPE-PAC, collects donations that allow us to make financial contributions on a nonpartisan basis to candidates and officeholders who demonstrate support for ATPE’s legislative priorities.
- Our grassroots activism program provides members with training, support and opportunities to get politically involved at any level they feel comfortable. Visit TeachtheVote.org or contact the ATPE Governmental Relations staff to learn more about grassroots activities.
Get involved. Help your profession and the students you serve. We’ll help you do it.
Questions? Send us a message
or call the ATPE state office at (800) 777-2873.
This is legislative advertising contracted for by Gary G. Godsey, Executive Director, Association of Texas Professional Educators, 305 E. Huntland Dr., Suite 300, Austin, TX 78752-3792, representing ATPE.