I have a 19 year old daughter who is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I am dedicated to making a difference in the lives and education of kids who are in the system or who will enter the system.
Do you have any suggestions about how we can start a new organization and make it successful?
Make sure every member of your group has copies of two articles: One Parent is a Fruitcake and What One Person Can Do (Do You Have a Free Hour?)
What One Person Can Do (Do You Have a Free Hour?) shows that with very little time and absolutely no money, you can bring accurate information about law and education to large numbers of people.
Empower everyone in your group to do this work, not just the "leaders". Work to improve the education of children who have a variety of needs - English language learners, homeless children, disadvantaged children, children with disabilities.
Work with Other Groups
Visit the websites of these organizations. Publicize their events and support groups through your e-mail network. When you do this, you will make a huge difference in your community and your state.
Build a Website
Here is the website that I set up for the New Hampshire Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.
Here is a link to Bridges4Kids.org, a site that is based in Michigan. The site has links to organizations and groups, a calendar of events, where to find help for a child, how to contact your legislators, and much more.
All these websites evolved over time. You don't need to know much to get started. My first web page looked like a typed piece of white paper - but because it had good information, people heard about it, and continue to use it.
Set up a Communication Network
The other members of your organization have their contact networks. Make sure that the information about events or services is sent to all networks.
Write a short new release or article about an event. You can use this service to send the news release or article to all the newspapers in your state. You can cover the entire state in two hours hours or less.
"Lack of Funding" Excuse
Focus on the legal requirements for reporting results, research based educational programs, state academic content standards, improving graduation rates, lowering dropout rates, least restrictive environment, and ensuring that teachers are receiving training in research based methods.
Learn About Your State's Open Records or Sunshine Laws
Useful Rules for Successful Groups
* Take advantage of every opportunity to educate and inform.
All bureaucracies resist change. Changing a bureaucracy won't be accomplished overnight, but it can be done. Your group needs to be patient and persistent.
Meet Sue Whitney
In Doing Your Homework, she
writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and
strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for
and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. Sue Whitney's bio.
Copyright © 2002-2012 by Suzanne Whitney.