Ramona Wynder, instructor and coordinator of alternative certification for Northwestern State University’s Department of Teaching, Leadership and Counseling, participated in the Day on the Hill, the signature component of Washington Week for members of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). The event provides educators an opportunity to meet with their representatives and learn the latest information on education policy from Capitol Hill. The event includes training and resources for members to conduct meetings with congressional offices, where they can showcase their successful programs and advocate for relevant legislation or funding.
“I met with Congressman Ralph Abraham and his Legislative Assistant Blake Lasuzzo, Pamela Davidson, senior policy advisor for Senator Bill Cassidy, and Katie Doherty, legislative director for Congressman John Fleming to discuss legislation that will affect teacher preparation program providers and our candidates,” Wynder said. “I also took the opportunity to highlight the successes of Northwestern State’s teacher preparation programs, including our partnerships with local school districts.”
Wynder was one of two delegates from Louisiana. The other was Dr. Don Shillinger, dean of education at Louisiana Tech University.
“Participating in AACTE Day on the Hill was personally and professionally rewarding,” Wynder said.“It was empowering to converge on Capitol Hill with teacher educators and leaders from across the nation to advocate for our programs. How blessed we are to live in a democratic nation where, regardless of our background, we can voice our thoughts to lawmakers about issues that impact us”
Wynder said that although not every citizen has the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of congress, every citizen can write a latter, send an email or make a phone call to their representative.
“Exercising our civic obligation should not stop in the voting booth,” she said. “As citizens, we have the responsibility to speak up about laws and policies that affect our communities. We cannot afford to remain silent about things that matter; our collective voices can effectuate change.”