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!