Why does leadership matter in education? The 2018 ASCD Legislative Agenda begins with the following statement that helps to answer that question:
Leadership matters for the success of our education system and our students. At the local level, leadership ensures the success of students. At the district level, leaders provide resources, while state leaders provide oversight. And federal government leadership matters in identifying national priorities and promoting equal access to educational opportunities for all students. But it is the involvement of education professionals in the decision making at each of these levels that matters most so that their leadership and expertise inform the policies that support a whole child education for every student. (emphasis added)
Colorado ASCD focuses on helping teachers develop leadership capacity in the decision-making/policy area through the activities of its Advocacy and Influence Committee.
The committee uses CO ASCD’s newsletter, blogs, and tweets to provide members with information about education legislation at the state and national levels, guidance on how to advocate for students and the profession, and ways to participate in decision-making at the school, district and state levels.
The committee’s work includes connecting with other organizations in the state to identify advocacy resources and information of interest to CO ASCD members, to co-sponsor events, and to strengthen educator advocacy efforts in the state.
CO ASCD will also sponsor an annual advocacy event – either face-to-face or online – that will feature policymakers and educators having conversations about education policy issues or helping teachers develop their leadership skills in advocacy and influence.
Standard V of the Colorado Teacher Quality Standards describes how teachers demonstrate leadership. For a specific take on what teacher leadership looks like in the area of advocacy, you might be interested in the Teacher Leader Model Standards developed in 2008 by the Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium. Domain VII: Advocating for Student Learning and the Profession describes five functions for teacher leaders in this area. You’ll see some similarities with Colorado’s Teacher Quality Standards and some additional details about teacher leadership and advocacy that will help you reflect on your practice in this area.
If you are interested in developing your leadership skills in advocacy or other areas, consider participating in CO ASCD’s teacher leadership micro-credential. This program will offer participants access to high quality resources and learning experiences for developing teacher leadership knowledge and skills, leverage what teachers already know, and provide opportunities for connecting with experts in the field. Watch the CO ASCD website and social media sites for more information about this program.
Jill Lewis, Board President