We're only two months into 2015, but education is already shaping up to be a major priority on both the federal and state levels. Here are some of the key learnings and resources from the meetings Dustin Parsons (@mr_p2012) and I (@MissCHarris) have attended. I hope they help you be an advocate for students and teachers this year!

1. Arkansas General Assembly

The Arkansas State Legislator is currently in session, and both the House and Senate are actively considering bills that will have an impact in all Arkansas schools. Of particular interest is HB1241, which would delay the use of PARCC testing in Arkansas. If you haven't looked through the bills, click on the links below to see what important decisions are being made.

Bills in the House

Bills in the Senate

As an educator, YOU are the expert. Contact your policymakers with your insights, and offer them your expertise. Your voice is needed.

2. Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA)

In January, Dustin and I traveled to Washington, DC, with the Legislative Committee of AASCD's Board. We met with Arkansas's Congressmen to establish ourselves as resources for them as they make decisions about educational legislation. The main item on the 2015 ASCD Legislative Agenda is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which hasn't been revisited since 2001, when it was updated as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

2015 ASCD Legislative Agenda to help you start the conversation about the Whole Child

  • Reauthorize ESEA Now
  • Establish a Multimetric Accountability System
  • Reduce the Reliance on Standardized Testing
  • Promote a Whole Child Education
  • Honor and Support the Education Profession

3. ASCD Testing and Accountability Statement

ASCD has a released a statement calling for a "two-year moratorium on using state assessments for high-stakes purposes." Calling the current accountability system "antiquated," ASCD would have educators and policymakers "pause" to develop an appropriate replacement. How does high-stakes testing affect your students? What would be the impact in your district if the high-stakes were temporarily detached from state testing?

4. Educating Your Community

As the legislature gets active, I'm reminded that the most important advocacy work I can do in my district is communicate with parents and students about the education policy. Recently, our district hosted a PARCC information night for parents, and our Director of Secondary Curriculum and Test Coordinator presented the laws related to state testing to our School Board. When big changes happen, dialogue with the community can go a long way in dispelling misconceptions and building consensus. Let's be proactive in educating our community on the changes that are happening.



Arkansas ASCD  - Influence and Advocacy Award 2014 - Affiliate Excellence Award 2011