By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
So what’s cooking in LynnAnne Lange’s kitchen? It’s not dinner.
This South East High School marching band teacher has the drill down pat: After arriving home from work, she plops down at her kitchen table, opens her laptop and sizzles on the Internet, where she advocates on behalf of public education. Lately, it’s all about the upcoming November election.
She types www.cta.org and clicks on “Campaign 2012” in the upper right corner of the screen. She’s already been informed via the website about voting YES on Proposition 30 (it provides new revenue for schools) and NO on Proposition 32 (it silences the voice of teachers), so she clicks on “E-mail a Friend.”
She e-mails lots of friends so they can make informed decisions about the ballot initiatives. She’s thrilled she can “cut and paste” various phrases on the site instead of struggling to find the right words herself. Next she goes on Facebook and sends “400 of her closest friends” an e-mail asking them to vote “Yes on 30, No on 32” and provides a link to the CTA website. She’s done in 20 minutes and then starts preparing dinner.
“CTA makes this so easy,” says Lange, a United Teachers Los Angeles member, who received an award for being one of the top 50 NEA cyber-lobbyists of 2011. “This is quick and easy. It’s something I can do at home as an overworked teacher and single mom.”
On cyber-advocating for CTA:
I work long hours as a music teacher, and I can’t be out there pounding the pavement. But this is something that I can do from my kitchen table. I can sleep at night knowing I am assisting in the political process and helping to educate voters not to be taken in by the lies of Prop. 32. It is deceptive and written in such a way that people can innocently vote the wrong way.
On cyber-advocating for NEA:
All I did was respond to NEA’s e-mail newsletters, which have a link that allows you to send e-mails to all your elected officials on various topics. I picked out the topics that were closest to my heart, regarding the arts, special education, protecting public employee pensions, and not cutting funds for education. This morning I sent out 10 e-mails to officials who represent me in the House of Representatives and the Senate. It took just minutes.
On winning the NEA Cyber Advocate Award:
I was really surprised to be recognized for this. I didn’t realize it was a big thing; I thought they sent awards to everybody who e-mailed legislators. My daughter was surprised because I am not technologically advanced. I guess I’m more powerful than I thought.
On teacher empowerment:
Being politically active is critical now, and we’ve been complacent much too long. We have to take back our country. It doesn’t take much time to be a cyber-advocate. It’s so easy that everyone can do it. And I do get answers. Sometimes they look like form letters, and sometimes they are written responses from local officials. I strongly encourage other educators to take pride in having a voice in politics and to get involved in the political process.
Related Tags: Volume 17 Issue 2, Action, Inside Educator, Educator, Activism, Awards, Campaign, Election, NEA, Networking, Online, Technology,