In 2013, I was invited to tour one of the elementary schools in my district by one of their teachers. She had the assignment to reach out to her state legislators to get them involved. Fast forward to 2016, and that teacher and I have become good friends that rely on one another when making decisions on public policy involving education and educators.
A few months ago I was invited once again by my friend, Mrs. Cassie Reding, to come visit some students and experience their classroom environment, and then to sit down for an interview about the impact of working together. I was happy to participate, and (as always) thoroughly enjoyed my time in the classroom. Kids were testing egg-drop contraptions, discovering and experimenting with oobleck, learning about light and heat energy using a radiometer, measuring and cutting wood to build a raised garden, and looking up local animal habitats. I could stayed there all day!
During the interview, however, we were asked about the importance of building a relationship between educators and legislators, and importantly, spending time in each others' shoes. Mrs. Reding and her husband Conrad (also a teacher) have been to the Capitol in Frankfort several times to discuss policies and to observe the process. Its not nearly as fun as making oobleck, but the exchange of experience and perspective is what really matters. This shared exchange – Policy Together – is what is so important. Mrs. Reding and others have begun an initiative to foster these relationships across Kentucky, and I could't agree more with that goal. I encourage every member of the legislature, and every teacher, to sign up. Ignore party labels. Ignore preconceived notions. Just be willing to listen and learn from each other.
Are you a teacher interested in getting involved?