Interacting with government is a key tenet of our democracy and a value we teach our students throughout our K-12 curriculum. With more and more legislative actions having an effect on financing our schools as well as an impact on various aspects of our instructional programs, it is important that our legislators learn the effects, both positive and negative, that their decisions are ultimately having on our students.
While educators meet and frequently communicate with our legislators, it is equally important that they hear from all of our stakeholders. To that end, I have initiated a Legislative Advocacy Committee. The purpose is to work with lawmakers to take a position on an issue that impacts public education and, more specifically, our students. By working with individual lawmakers and lawmaking bodies, a larger advocate group will have a powerful "voice" to influence decisions that ultimately impact our children.
Everyone, including our youth, can make a difference. Recently a group of 8th grade students from Waldon Middle School went to the state Capitol to urge legislators to adopt the eastern wild turkey as the official game bird for the state of Michigan. They testified and presented their arguments before the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee. House Bill 4589 was introduced by State Rep. Gary Howell of North Branch and would designate the eastern wild turkey as the official state game bird. If passed out of committee, House Bill 4589 would move to the House floor where the entire chamber would weigh in on its approval.
“I was proud to watch students from our community make their case in support of this bill and directly participate in our legislative process,” said State Rep. John Reilly. “They provided superb testimony that was well-communicated and researched.”
Anyone interested in being a Legislative Advocate for LOCS is asked to complete a short survey at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/26KDL2Y
As an advocate, you would be asked to take on certain responsibilities such as letter writing, meeting with legislators, informing others of legislative actions, etc. Our goal is to have a broad representation of stakeholders; parents, educators, students and community members.
The responsibilities do not include committee meetings. Rather, advocates will be alerted by email to an issue (call to action) with specific information. Based on the participation role indicated on the survey, you will be asked to take action. We will provide you with the necessary information to fulfill your role (for example, a letter writing template and contact information for appropriate legislators.)
I hope you will consider being a legislative advocate.
~~Marion Ginopolis, Superintendent