We live in a democratic nation where free speech is a human right. However, it seems that more and more Americans are struggling to have their voices heard. Not being able to get your important message heard can be disheartening and cause you to lose hope. But we at Educate. Radiate. Elevate. don’t want you to give up! There are several ways you can speak out and create lasting change. This is especially important to keep in mind when it comes to education reform. Meaningful and high-quality education is one of the most important things we can give youth, impacting current and future generations. Improvements in the educational system, especially at the local level, is something anyone can have an impact on. Whether you’re a parent, a student, or a community member, here are five simple ways to urge your local government to bring about education reform.
Start a Petition
What’s a more fitting way to petition your local government for educational change than through a petition? Completing a petition is one of the most tried and true methods for bringing about change in governments. There’s always the old-fashioned method of going door-to-door asking for signatures. This method is quite effective, as evidenced by the many politicians who still do this today. It can even result in more support because you are a real person who is physically asking people face-to-face to get involved. But in the digital age, there are also many electronic methods of creating and sharing petitions. Sites like change.org and ipetitions.com allow anyone who wants to make a difference to simply log on and create a petition that can be sent via the internet. No matter the method, petitioning leaders of your local government can open their minds to how the members of their community feel about education reform, thereby making a major impact.
Use Social Media
Similar to the ease and efficiency of online petitions, social media allows for the rapid accumulation of support. With the ever-increasing use of social media in our lives, it should be no surprise to learn that it can be a great way to petition for change. For instance, many school districts have public pages on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Utilize those sites to create posts or write comments asking for the changes you want to see in your school district. Before you know it, your post may accrue many likes and shares, allowing your suggestions to be seen by other community members and leaders as well. You can also consider creating a separate, dedicated page for your cause. This way, you and other like-minded people can work together to spread the message and further the cause for education reform.
Gather for a Protest
Sometimes setting paper and posts aside, and instead taking an active physical stance is what it takes for your local government to hear you. Forming a group and gathering for a protest can be an incredibly effective way to grab the attention of an entire community. In fact, it’s moments like those that you can use your freedom of speech to its fullest. Whether you’re holding signs at the side of a busy street or shouting outside city hall, people will see and hear you unintentionally. You are thereby more likely to gain the attention of new supporters. Furthermore, if your protests are impactful enough, they could garner coverage from local or even national news and/or education reform organizations. Altogether, this could put a lot of pressure on the local government to listen to your call for education reform.
Speak at School Board Meetings
Most people can agree that a powerful speaker can be a very persuasive force. Use this to your advantage by taking your issues straight to your local school board. The publicly announced agenda for school board meetings will typically allow time for members of the public to speak. This time can be used to address issues, request change, share personal experiences, or express feelings regarding the schools. When the leaders in charge of making decisions regarding local education are face-to-face with people who have a compelling message, they are more likely to empathize with the speaker. Of course, it is recommended that you are well-prepared before speaking. To have the greatest impact, you’ll need to make sure what you plan to say is rehearsed, makes sense, and is compelling. With some effort, just one speech can make all the difference.
Campaign and Vote for School Board Candidates
Maybe you think, “Nobody on this school board seems to represent my part of the community.” If that’s the case, then it might be a sign that you need to vote for someone who better represents you and your views on education reform. Helping a candidate who aligns with your perspective gain traction could awaken a group of similarly-minded people who previously thought that their views regarding education reform did not matter. You can help someone be the face and voice for a group that you think your local government disregards. And, if this person is elected, he/she can be the spark that started a meaningful change. Maybe, years in the future, the candidate you sided with will even pass the next landmark federal education law. Maybe that candidate is reading this article right now.
All of us at Educate. Radiate. Elevate. support meaningful education reform. We believe every child – regardless of race, gender, or class – deserves the highest quality education. To help, we provide one-on-one tutoring for low-income students of color – at no cost to their families. If you know a child who you think would benefit from our services, you can nominate them for E.R.E. tutoring. You can also support our cause by donating.