Yesterday, at the Wisconsin Association of School Board's Legislative Advocacy Conference, innovation and transformation were center stage during the morning session. After presentations by CESA 1, CESA 6, and Wisconsin Way, school board members spent a little time talking about the information presented. One question posed to the group : For transformation to occur, what kind of advocacy is needed? One table talked about how they need guidance, they are not sure how to talk with legislators about new possibilities. School board members don't want to go to the state legislator, simply asking for more money. Some at the conference went so far as to say, "We need to stop whining." At the same time, they are not sure how to talk about possibilities for the future.
Here is a link that describes some of the activities a 21st Century Teacher would use in her or his classroom. I post this here to get the conversation started.
There are lots of ways to learn about possibilities that can serve as a starting place for conversations in your community. Read books. A number of relevant titles are listed on this blog. Don't have time for a whole book, watch TED Talks. They are short, interesting talks that will touch, move, and inspire you. In less than 20 minutes you can learn about something interesting and innovative that is going on in our world. Follow blogs. If you are reading this, you are off to a good start. Another interesting blog: dangerously irrelevant!: Technology, Leadership and the Future of Schools.
To develop meaningful talking points about possibilities for the future in your school district, you need to bring interested stakeholders together to talk about the future. What do teachers and administrators already know about transforming public education? What do your students think? They are most likely already plugged in in ways that the adults in your community may never have thought of. What do the business leaders in your community have to say about the needs of their businesses? How can you present possibilities to parents and others in the community who may not see the need for transformation?
From these conversations, you will begin to see what will work best in your school district. You can then develop your own stories to tell your legislators about the possibilities for your schools and your community.