At our session for early childhood activists at NAEYC’s Annual Conference in November, Karel shared her top tips for activists. We asked Karel for permission to share her tips here:
Tips for Activists
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
- Find like-minded people
- Food always helps people connect so bring in muffins or cookies. Have tea & coffee readily available
- Do something fun together. Go see a movie or to a concert or an art exhibit.
- Put one foot in front of the other – take small steps and always, always celebrate your wins no matter how small they may seem.
- Do your research so that you are prepared.
- Support each other. Kindness begets more of the same.
- Be persistent. Do not give up. Oftentimes your opponents will respect you for your integrity and persistence even if you are always opposing them. Do not mistake attempts to subvert you for respect – a fine line to walk.
- Be positive. Look at what is possible. For this you need to know what you believe in.
- Talk with people. Collect business cards. Talk with the reporters who cover education. They may come to see you as a reliable source of information.
- Change the conversation. For example, instead of their talk about high performing schools, change it to, “Every school a great school.” Instead of choice always meaning a charter school, change it to choice meaning good neighborhood schools. Act like a toddler and repeat this over and over and over again.
Thanks to Karel for sharing her strategies! To learn more, check out Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools on Facebook. You can also view a powerful video. Activists and the Media Mobilizing Project TV in Philadelphia, PA have produced the video Our Schools Are Not For Sale. “This is the story of Philadelphia’s teachers, parents, students, and communities who are fighting for public schools that are well-resourced, high-quality and available to all. Watch how local communities are responding to a year of unprecedented attacks, including the closing of 24 schools, layoffs of hundreds of teachers and counselors, and the elimination of school libraries, art, music, and sports programs.”