Step 1: Educate Yourself & Get Involved In Your Local School
The first step is to understand the issues. Take time to educate yourself on your local school issues. Visit your local school board meeting. Ask questions. Read news articles and opinion articles. We list 10 things you can do to be an education advocate in this article. Just remember: You don’t have to do it all. Find one area of advocacy that suits your talents and that you enjoy.
Read 10 Things You Can Do to Be An Advocate For Your School
Step 2: Be a Vocal Advocate for Active and Retired Teachers in the State
Mentor Young Teachers — Sadly, 33% of new teachers leave the profession within the first three years of employment. In an effort to stem the high attrition levels, retired educators and other community members are encouraged to support new teachers and administrators as they begin their careers. Learn more about NRTA's Educator Support Network here and how you can be a mentor for young teachers.
Speak Up, Stand Up—Simply by sharing your support for teachers through social media and your daily conversations, you can influence those around you to care more about education issues in Indiana.
IRTA Membership & Contributions — as a member, your contributions provide the following support for active teachers:
- A Hand UP Assistance—This program provides financial assistance for an immediate need of an IRTA member who is undergoing a temporary or emergency hardship. The help is intended for a one-time, short-term need and not for extended support. Examples of needs include, but are not limited to: housing expenses, health care, transportation, legal assistance, nutrition, etc.
- Scholarships—What better way to perpetually advance Indiana's education of young people than to develop and support more great teachers. Each year, IRTF awards at most 10 scholarships (one in each Area) to help promote our profession and assist college students who have a passion for the classroom.
- Active Teacher Grants— IRTA understands the importance of helping teachers fulfill their classroom missions. That is why we provide assistance through the generosity of our members and partners. If you know of someone in Indiana who would like to apply for an active teacher grant, or you want to learn more about the program, click here.
Learn More about giving to the foundation
Step 3: Join Associations and Organizations That Advocate for Teachers
Join forces with organizations that are already doing the work! Your membership, support, and involvement in one or more of these organizations shows our elected representatives strength in numbers.
Indiana Retired Teachers Association—retired Hoosier educators or those thinking of retiring can join IRTA to support our efforts advocating for educators in the state. Even if you are not a retired teacher, you can join as an Associate Member at a low, annual rate. Donations and memberships are vital to sustaining these organizations.
Learn More about IRTA Membership
National Retired Teachers Association—Members of NRTA are dedicated to continuous educational opportunity, advocacy, and service as a means of safeguarding the economic security, work opportunities, and future well-being of all generations. Learn more about AARP's Educator Community here.
Learn more about IRTA membership
Local Retired Teacher Association—Find your local chapter here. While the state office staff and committees work as your voice in the General Assembly and secure discounts on goods and services, our local chapters carry out our mission of volunteering for communities and advancing local education initiatives.
Find your local chapter
National Education Association—The National Education Association is another wonderful resource for advocacy. Consider joining "Raise Your Hand"—a national initiative to mobilize educators, parents, and community leaders who share a commitment to ensuring the success of all students. The website is full of advocacy information, action steps, statistics about public education, and other resources to help you educate yourself and others.
Step 4: Register to Vote, and go VOTE!
This one speaks for itself. Learn about the candidates and vote for those who have a strong record on education. It’s important to vote in every election, but especially in your local elections and special elections.
Learn more about upcoming elections, polling locations, who is on the ballot, and get registered to vote here: https://indianavoters.in.gov/
You can even text to Register to Vote:
Text: 2vote (28683)
Step 5: Contact Your Legislator
Call, write letters and send email to legislators to ask support for our legislative programs and to thank them for their support.
Tools that make this easier:
- Countable—This app makes it quick and easy to understand the laws Congress is considering. They also streamline the process of contacting your lawmaker, so you can tell them how you want them to vote on bills under consideration. Get the Countable App here.
- Indiana General Assembly — The Indiana General Assembly website has information about your elected representatives in the statehouse, as well as live webcasts. https://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/