The Institute for Education Leadership (oversees the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)) annually hosts a convening of the EPFP fellows in Washington, DC, called the Washington Policy Seminar.
On the first day, the fellows had to design a group welcome. Led by fellow Monique Barrett, California’s group welcome was amazing and fun!
The plenaries dug deeper into the role of the federal government in influencing education policy. Plenaries included: The Federal Role in Education; Policy, Politics, and Procedures Inside Congress, Perspectives from the U.S. Department of Education, and the Teacher Pipeline Panel Discussion.
The fellows then moved onto the Congressional Role Playing Simulation. This thought-provoking exercise randomly assigned fellows from all over the nation to a table. Each table was assigned a member of Congress and the team then had to advocate for certain bills–with that Congressional member’s viewpoint (whether or not you were on the same political side with that person). The simulation taught the fellows to think in others’ viewpoints.
The group then enjoyed a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
We ended our time with Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s office and spoke to her education staffer about California’s challenges with digital learning and connectivity, special education, compassion fatigue of teachers, and other topics.
Overall, WPS was a great learning experience about education policy at the federal level!