These materials are aimed particularly at teachers who feel their programs are under threat of reduction or elimination, but they can certainly be useful in other circumstances, as well. Reading through the materials at any time can help you feel prepared and can help advocates who want to think about how best to focus an advocacy campaign in their own local situation, should it become necessary.
The earlier an advocacy campaign can be started, the more likely it is to be effective. While teachers are sometimes given no advance warning about plans to reduce or eliminate a program, if at all feasible a campaign should be started well before such decisions are made.
An advocacy plan to persuade decision-makers should be formulated thoughtfully and implemented as soon as the continuation of the French program is in doubt.
Sufficient time should be taken to strategize and involve as many advocates—including parents, students, colleagues, etc.,—as possible. It is essential to engage as many advocates (parents, students, colleagues, and others) as possible in the process.
These checklists will help you start to put together a plan of action.
Uses for the Contents of the Advocacy Section
Every advocacy campaign in support of a French program will play out differently.
Some teachers will have the opportunity to involve parents, while others might be forbidden to speak with parents about the situation.
Some advocacy groups—teachers, parents, and/or students—will have the opportunity to speak with administrators or even make a presentation at a school board meeting, but others will not be able to give formal presentations.
Thus, this resource bank includes materials that can be adapted to a wide variety of individual circumstances.
Teachers should look through all of the materials with an eye to what they will be able to use, thinking about how they can take what is provided and “personalize” it: What arguments are most pertinent for their community? Which former students can they quote? Can they call on parents to organize? Will the school board be willing to listen to a formal presentation, and if so, what arguments should be made?
Teachers may wish to look at the list of arguments in favor of French articulated in the documents on the following page, as they can be readily used in framing their own documents: 15 Advocacy Arguments