Friday, June 21, 2013

Day Three

I apologize for the late posting - I did not realize the fast pace of the visits, and there was also not Internet access. Yesterday was an excellent experience, I had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Loebsack, as well as representatives of Senators who were unable to attend due to important voting time constraints. Our first meeting with Congressman Loebsack went very well. His wife taught Elementary school for many years, so he was incredibly receptive to the needs of teachers. Our group was able to express all of our thoughts in the time allotted, and he was also interested in hearing about my future student teaching placements, as well as Jake's, who is the student who represented Luther College. We were able to take a picture with Congressman Loebsack, which is attached. He also had a St. Ambrose pennant hanging in his office - of which there is also a picture!

Then, our delegation group divided to meet with representatives for Senator Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley. My group meet with Michael Gamel-McCormick, who is the Senior K-12 Education Policy Advisor in the Education Office. Although he was not as receptive as others, he listened to what we had to say regarding Teacher Preparation, and took several notes. He also asked our delegation to provide him with further information and statistics about education in Iowa, which can definitely be considered a positive aspect ofour meeting.

The next two meetings also went very well, and both representatives were interested in our discussion. I was surprised to notice their interest in Jake and I's experiences in our Teacher Prep Programs. Overall, they were impressed with the amount of practicum experience required, and the rigorous coursework we are engaged in. They were also pleased to hear about the sense of continuity between classroom instruction to application through practicum experiences.The representatives also took many notes, and took further information from AACTE to pass along to the Senators.

After participating in AACTE Day on the Hill, some of the Iowa Delegation went on a bus tour of the city at night. Seeing the monuments was amazing, and I am so grateful to have had the experience! Washington DC is an amazing city that is constantly moving with professionals and visitors. I learned so much about policy decision making through this event, and realized the incredible impact that students and professionals might have on Senators and representatives. They were interested in hearing the stories of Teacher Education students because we are the group who will lead the next generation of students. I learned that although it seems unlikely, our voices are heard. Through letters, phone calls, and meetings, we are able to communicate our needs, and we have the possibility to impact their decision making. My experience at AACTE Day on the Hill was one to remember, and I hope to have similar leadership opportunities in the future!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day Two

Wow, today was incredibly busy, but filled with great information! After landing in Washington DC, Dr. Carpenter and I met with the other members registered for this event. These people include teachers, professors, undergrad students, graduate students, principals, and more. That being said, there are so many educational perspectives available in the room, which makes for excellent conversation. Today we discussed the talking points, or our priorities, for talking to Senators and Congressmen tomorrow. We will only have 15-20 minutes of their time, so it is incredibly important for us to be organized so we can communicate effectively. The delegation from Iowa includes another student among myself, so we will be offering student perspectives of the importance of a rigorous program, rather than other educational opportunities. I will specifically be discussing the incredible experience for practicum students at St. Ambrose Children's Campus, where information  and methods learned in class is implemented with integrity in the classroom setting. I am hoping that I will be able to communicate this eloquently in my allotted time!

After meetings and the creation of our "game plan" for tomorrow, the Iowa delegation did some sight seeing around the area, and the pictures are attached, enjoy!

I am planning on blogging as often as possible tomorrow to keep everyone informed of the connections made with Senators and Congressmen. We are hoping to communicate effectively and make an impact about the importance of a traditional, four year, rigorous Teacher Education Program filled with valuable experiences and exposures, rather than non-traditional education opportunities. Wish us luck!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day One

Today Dr. Carpenter and I made the drive to Madison, Wisconsin, where we will catch an early flight to Chicago, and then onto Washington. Tomorrow we are going to attend several meetings with individuals all across the United States, including individuals from Iowa. I am looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with others, as well as listen to what they have to say regarding advocacy for education. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to talk to Senators about my passion, but also my future career. Here is the link to the agenda that describes the meetings that I will be going to:

Stay tuned for more!