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Abstract

One of the defining features of public schools is that they operate at the will of the people, with public oversight from elected school boards. In addition to being free and open to all, free from religious affiliation, and promoting civic understanding and participation, much of what makes public schools public happens through the democratic process. We have noticed that many teachers are so overworked and overwhelmed - rightly focused on their own classrooms and their own students’ day to day struggles - that it’s not easy for them to engage and advocate for themselves and their students in the ways they would like, even though their input is sorely needed. We hope to demystify the policy process to help educators influence public conversations about education that too often happen without their participation. We know many educators who want to engage in policy discussions, but need tools to help them do so as part of their already overwhelming schedules. We begin here with a brief overview of the U.S. school privatization movement to provide context for why educator advocacy is so needed. Then, we offer experiences from our state of Nebraska, one of three states with no school privatization policies on the books. Finally, we give educators ideas of how to get involved where they live.

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