ACTE Techniques March 2014 - (Page 21)

Backyard Advocacy earned or rate of student transition to postsecondary education and the workforce. To find research and data that support your position, check the Advocacy Resources page on the ACTE website (www. Be Friendly While being friendly may sound like a no-brainer, sometimes conversations can escalate quickly on issues that people are passionate about. Never let persuasion turn into a threat, and don't fight someone's negativity with more negativity. Use your data and facts to definitively show that your program works and works better than the alternative. A good way to ease a stiff meeting is to compliment your policymaker on something he or she accomplished in the past. People become friendlier and more open to new ideas when their past work is validated. Be Calm Meeting with your legislator can be a frustrating task when he or she does not agree with your priorities or may not fully understand an issue. In these situations, it is imperative that you maintain a professional and calm demeanor. If the line of questioning is moving off-topic, use your responses to bring the discussion back to your point, and don't allow yourself to become flustered. It's also important to understand that meeting with your policymaker is not always to win your case. If your policymaker becomes more aggressive in questioning your position, do not turn your discussion into an argument. Sometimes getting awareness of your CTE program from them by presenting your case and starting the conversation is just as important as "winning the argument." Be Open Being open has two meanings for advocacy. First, when meeting with legislators, be prepared to listen and speak. By Congressman Jim Langevin From the outside it doesn't look much like a classroom. The large warehouse doors have been pushed open, and sunlight illuminates the foundation of a house. There are only wall studs up now, but Tom Burcosky takes off his hard hat to explain what the frame will become. Tom speaks knowledgably about construction, just feet away from a deep hole where pipes are being laid. Once the home is complete, it will be torn down. Once the pipes are laid, they will be pulled up again-dual lessons in construction and demolition. This is Tom's classroom. Tom is a student at the New England Laborers'/Cranston Public Schools Construction and Career Academy, a trade high school in Cranston, Rhode Island, where the curriculum combines traditional classroom subjects with skills training for careers in the construction industries. A built-in relationship with the Laborers International Union provides many of these young people with internships or apprenticeships that can eventually lead to well-paying jobs. Seeing Tom in action, learning with his hands and sharpening skills that will help him get a job after graduation, inspires my work in Washington. As co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, I believe that meaningful education cannot be a one- size-fits-all endeavor. Students learn in their own way and at their own pace. So we do them a great disservice by forcing them into the same learning pathways. Instead, we should be teaching our young people to play to their strengths. A student who is looking for a job that requires a professional certification has different educational needs than a student interested in pursuing a four-year degree. Both are pathways to successful careers, and both need the proper guidance and support in order to succeed. Tom might not realize it, but he is a self-made advocate for CTE. Every time he shows off one of his projects, tells a friend about his unique coursework or goes out into the community to donate his skills (another priority of the school), he is shining a light on the importance of skills education. Tom's story is important to me, and it is one of many in Rhode Island and nationwide that reminds me to listen to my constituents. If we want a vibrant economy, we need a highly trained workforce, and the varied talents of my constituents exemplify that there is no one right path to success. There are many paths to success. Tom's talent is in construction, but CTE comes in many forms. I introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act to ensure that high school students are made fully aware of all their career and educaMarch 2014 Techniques 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACTE Techniques March 2014

Leading Edge
Classroom Connection
Leadership Matters
Capitol View
Q and A
Advocacy: A Dedicated Task
Actions Inspired by Words
Advocacy Saves the Day
Advocacy: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Backyard Advocacy: How Local Business Partners Can Help
Top Five Local Advocacy Tips for Success
Solving the STEM Education Puzzle One Piece at a Time
Research Report
Indside ACTE
Career Curve

ACTE Techniques March 2014