Why is it important for school board members to become advocates?
As the only locally elected officials chosen by the voters to represent the interests of children, school board members have a profound responsibility to speak out for the children in their community. To meet this challenge, school board members must take advantage of their political clout with policymakers.
School board members can effectively influence legislators. Research shows that legislators do listen to the folks back home, especially those knowledgeable in the area in which they are advocating. The numbers show that school board members can be extremely powerful advocates. There are more than 7,300 school board members statewide, so compared to 181 state legislators, the ratio is definitely favorable.
Because school board members are also elected officials, their voices can carry even more weight. Legislators are more influenced by constituents than by lobbyists. That is why local school board members must partner with TASB’s Governmental Relations staff to deliver the public education message to legislators.
Becoming a stronger force for Texas schools
One important mission of TASB is to serve as an advocate for public education and local school governance. TASB members, with the guidance of the Association’s Governmental Relations Division, work with legislators and state officials to secure laws and regulations that benefit Texas public schools.
Recognizing that most school board members are not trained lobbyists and may feel uncomfortable with the legislative process, TASB has established the School Board Advocacy Network to assist school board members by providing information, training, and opportunities that will enable them to be effective advocates for public education.
Of course, any citizen is free to communicate anytime with any legislative body or any individual legislator on any issue. In the interests of good government, such communications are as much a duty as a right. In spite of this fact, the role of advocate is one of the least understood for most school board members. The School Board Advocacy Network has been established to overcome this obstacle.