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In January JerseyCAN, the only statewide advocacy organization in New Jersey committed to ensuring access to high-quality public schools for every child regardless of zip code, cultural background, and socioeconomic status, held its first annual Fellowship Advocacy Training Summit. Members of the New Jersey Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship and the Parent Champions Fellowship joined together in an “all hands on deck” approach, with leaders empowering participants to influence state and local education policy. Historic levels of learning loss experienced by students across the state lent the event additional urgency.
In this new NJER-TV video showcasing the Summit, experts like JerseyCAN Executive Director Paula White, former New Jersey Commissioner of Education Kimberly Harrington, and senior advisor Janellen Duffy exhort parents and teachers to focus on ways that most promote improvement, whether that means meeting with state legislators, teaming up with school administrators, or using media to get their voices heard. It is through this sort of collaboration, Fellows were advised, that the most important constituencies—teachers and parents—have the tools, experience, contacts, and knowledge to drive positive change.
White sums it up this way: in order to foster engagement in education advocacy, teachers and parents must be their own advocates. That’s the only way “change will stick,” she says, and the great content offered during the Summit serves to “strengthen the connective tissue between all stakeholders in the education ecosystem.”