Teachers can influence policy 

Photo by Todd Bloch

In July twitter was a buzz about pending legislative action mandating social media policies in all school districts. As a connected educator, I felt I needed to share how it could possibly impact state educators on my blog.  Fortunately for educators, the author of the House Bill 4791, Rep Adam Zemke of Ann Arbor desires educator input on this legislation.

After seeing my tweets of concern, Rep Zemke’s office contacted me to set up a time to talk to Rep Zemke. A day later we had a wonderful hour long conversation about the social media bill and my connected educator concerns. I was not speaking out only for my concerns but for the general concern of all teachers in Michigan who my be impacted by this bill and how districts might react. Not wanting to rely on one educator’s viewpoint Rep. Zemke asked if I could gather a group of educators to discuss this further with him.

On August 13, 2015 in Zeeland, Michigan Rep Zemke met with a group of seven connected educators from all over Michigan to discuss the intent and impact of this legislation. After a quick over view of the bill, the discussion turn to educator concerns. Rep Zemke listened and quickly took out a notebook and pen to record educator viewpoints. Everyone at the table knew the intent of the bill is to have policy in place to encourage positive social media use in our schools. Prohibition due to lack of knowledge was the largest concern.

At the end of the conversation, Rep Zemke asked for contact information of all educators and hoped to share final bill language with all (for input) when it was complete. I was impressed. This was the first time in 15 years as an educator I felt my voice was truly heard by a legislator. Rep Zemke drove across Michigan to listen to 7 teachers share their concerns, not one of which lived in his house district. Lansing and Washington, DC need more legislators who meet with people who are directly impacted by their policies.

Thank you Rep Adam Zemke, I hope our input on this policy helps create a bill accomplishes the goal on POSITIVE social media use in our schools. You did what all politicians should, looked for input and listened to concerns.

Educators if you have positive stories of Social Media use in your school please share them in the comments.