Guest Post: Michael Allison on Advocacy

This is a guest post by Michael Allison, President of the National Association of Secondary Principals.

Michael Allison, NASSP President
Michael Allison, NASSP President

Michael is also principal of Hopewell High School, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
On June 20-22, 2016, NASSP hosted an advocacy conference for state leaders to discuss current federal education issues. Michael’s opening remarks were so poignant, I ask him if he would mind reposting part of it here as a guest blog post:
As the leading organization and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders from across the United States, NASSP connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs.
We are proud to support the important work of principals and to prepare you to share with others the positive agenda of support and encouragement for our nation’s schools and children!
Legislators need to hear the voices of their constituents. They value those voices much more that figureheads or employees from national associations. That is why we have you all gathered here in our capital!
Our goal at NASSP is always but especially this week to advocate on behalf of the nation’s 115,000 school leaders to ensure the success of each student.
As such, it becomes our duty to bring the issues of the principalship to the halls of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, the White House, and the national news media.
Advocacy is a key part of our mission at NASSP… Advocacy is not just a one time per year event, it must be ongoing and informed to make an impact on policy…and we are really calling on you as well as our other exemplary principal leaders to engage in our advocacy activities numerous times throughout the year to keep our platform, our experiences, and your voices fresh and on the minds of our Congressmen as they hear our voices and our stories several times reinforcing our messages.
…So that they can hear real stories of actual practice and experience…And help them to clearly see how their decisions and policies impact our children in real life not in some imaginary land where everything follows a predictable script.
Together, NASSP and school leaders nationwide play a vital role in crafting federal, state, and district policies that support the achievement and success of every student.
It is critical that these decisions are informed by the experience and expertise of YOU the nation’s school principals and supporters!
The rhetoric advanced by the media and unfortunately perpetuated by the US Department of education continues to focus on the struggles and failures of a small percentage of our schools and students.
We live in a different world. A world where we see students overcome myriad obstacles to improve and grow their learning.
Where kids can be kind and supportive. Where kids serve and support others in their communities.
Where ALL staff, teachers and principals, SERVE WITH THEIR HEARTS to make a difference for our children and their world.
As one of my predecessors, Denise Greene Wilkinson used to say, “We are here to take back that conversation! To erase the negativity and create hope and supply a different voice.”
Ours is to be a voice of inspiration and perspiration; service and leadership; effort and empathy; passion and compassion to inform, educate, and influence our nation’s key decision makers on how they can make informed decisions based on the reality of our work and what actually occurs in our schools.
We are here to take our stories, told through our example and practice, in OUR VOICE, to Congress! To make our work and our experiences come alive because we are authentic practitioners.

  • We walk the halls with our students and staff.
  • We advocate for kids to be successful.
  • We celebrate graduates, counsel bullies and the bullied and unfortunately bury them when they have lost hope, succumb to illness or make poor decisions.
  • We are fathers and mothers for kids who lack parents or positive role models in their home.
  • We buy clothes and lunches for students.
  • We watch them struggle and excel and we are proud of OUR kids and OUR schools in both situations.
  • We love them when they are champions, when they have learning challenges and when they suffer loss and at all times in between.

You know what is good for your schools and your students, and it is time to make your voices heard loud and clear!
Thank you for the work you do everyday, and remember your work matters! Principals matter. You matter. You make a difference. Now share your voice and make a difference!

Now It’s Your Turn

As you advocate on behalf of schools, what are effective ways you are connecting with elected officials? You can find Michael Allison via Twitter @tallprincipal.

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