Posts Tagged ‘Advocacy’

Florida EAP Consortium

April 30th, 2011

Links:   EAP Programs | State Courses | Bylaws| Competencies

Who are we?

The EAP Consortium includes participants from the Florida Community College & State College System.  Our goal is to support EAP programs throughout the state by enhancing communication among EAP faculty and administrators and by addressing articulation concerns.

What is our mission?

The mission of the EAP Consortium is to afford practitioners and administrators a venue for collaboration and to provide leadership and advocacy in statewide EAP issues.

What is our purpose?

The Consortium was created to align Florida EAP programs including placement, curricula, and assessment.

What is EAP?

EAP stands for English for Academic Purposes.  EAP programs provide second language instruction for non-native speakers of English who intend to earn associate or bachelors degrees in Florida colleges.  Although our students come from a variety of backgrounds, they are united in their desire to learn academic English in order to succeed with their higher education and career goals.

Upcoming Meetings:

October 23, 2015 – Seminole State College, Heathrow Campus, (8:30-3:00PM), Room H-138
For more information contact








History of SSTESOL Advocacy

February 6th, 2010

The mission of the Sunshine State TESOL is to provide educators access to professional development, resources, and interactions and to provide leadership and advocacy in language policy issues.


Decisions on social, political, and economic issues that affect teaching and learning for non-native speakers of English occur every day.  These decisions range from funding allocations in a specific school to the passage of state or federal legislation with the potential to create or to dismantle entire instructional programs.  The role that professional organizations can play in influencing policy makers and the voting public, therefore, has become increasingly important. Advocacy has been an integral part of the Sunshine State TESOL’s mission since the early 1990’s.

At the planning retreat in July 1999, the SSTESOL Executive Board drafted a strategic plan to take Sunshine State TESOL into the new millennium.  The plan was designed to reflect SSTESOL’s mission and included three components: organizational development, professional development and advocacy.  At the following board meeting in September 1999, a motion was passed to change the name of the Sociopolitical Affairs Committee to the Advocacy Committee and to add an amendment to the bylaws to include the Advocacy Committee as a standing committee of the organization.  The motion was presented and approved by the membership at their annual meeting during the May 2000 SSTESOL Convention.

The Role of SSTESOL Advocacy Defined

It is the belief of SSTESOL that advocacy efforts should: (1) identify areas of concern relative to language teaching and learning at various educational levels in Florida; (2) disseminate information concerning these  issues and solutions; (3) publish position statements in support of primary issues or in opposition to key issues as appropriate; (4) encourage participation of the membership as advocates for their students through workshops at SSTESOL conventions and other forms of dialogue; (5) promote the needs of our students through our expertise  based upon credible  academic research, our experience with language learners, and our knowledge of a substantive body of literature  relative to the principles of language teaching and learning; (6) call upon the expertise of consultants regarding pending legislation if such a need arises.


As SSTESOL entered the 21st century, the board has continued to revise and implement their three-armed strategic planning process.  Advocacy efforts have also continued with the first SSTESOL Advocacy workshop conducted by John Sagota of International TESOL at a SSTESOL Convention, periodic updates of advocacy issues published in the SSTESOL Messenger, new appointments on the Advocacy committee, joining an advocacy E-Forum list serve, and developing an Advocacy Home Page with multiple linkages on the SSTESOL website.

Ultimately, the organization seeks increased visibility as representatives of TESOL professionals in our state and as guides to all who seek to improve the quality of education for our students.

Written by Patricia A. Ellis, Ph.D.
Chair, Advocacy Committee
May 2002


Useful Sites for Advocacy and Legislative Contacts

February 6th, 2010

Florida Department of Education

Florida Department of Education –Legislative Highlights

Florida Department of Education – State Board of Education

Florida Department of Education – State Board of Education (Meetings and Archives)

Florida State Senate

Florida State Assembly

Florida Statutes 2006 – Florida Statute 1003.56 English language instruction for limited English proficient students.

Give Your Students a Voice – This link describes projects that ESOL teachers can do to make a difference in policymakers’ votes and decisions that impact ELLs’ lives.

TESOL Advocacy Home Page

Contacting Your Representatives in the U.S. Congress and the Florida Legislature

Contacting Your Florida State Legislators:

You can search for your legislators in the House and Senate by name, district, and party.  However, the easiest way is to check legislators for your county.  Selecting the county search on this site will provide you with maps of your county displaying district lines for both chambers.  Simply click on the area of the county you live in to get information about your legislators.

Another Way to Find Your Florida Legislators: Find your member of Congress using your zip code.  Match your zip code to your member of Congress and your congressional district.  Using your five-digit zip you can expect an accuracy of just under 90%, as many congressional districts split postal areas.  If you get a response with more than one member listed, use your nine-digit zip code to find your representatives in Congress.  If you do not know your nine-digit zip code, the U.S. Postal Service offers a Zip+4 service (requires a JavaScript-enabled browser).

Florida Counties by District
District 1:   Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa Walton
District 2:   Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Leon, Wakulla, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor
District 3:   Hamilton, Suwannee, Columbia, Lafayette, Dixie, Union, Bradford, Gilchrist, Alachua, Levy, Putnam
District 4:   Nassau, Baker, Duval, Clay, St. Johns
District 5:   Pasco, Pinellas
District 6:   Hillsborough, Manatee
District 7:   Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Brevard
District 8:   Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Glades, Lee, Hendry, Collier
District 9:   Palm Beach
District 10: Broward
District 11: Dade, Monroe
District 12: Flagler, Volusia
District 13: Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Lake Sumter
District 14: Polk, Hardee, Highlands
District 15: Indian River, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Martin

Contacting Your U.S. Congress Senators and Representatives: At Contacting the Congress website, click on Florida listings for a full page of personal and contact information for each Florida representative to the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.

How to Address Members of the House of Representatives

The Honorable _________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

How to Address Members of the Senate

The Honorable _________________
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515


How to be an advocate

February 6th, 2010

Demographically, Florida ranks third in the number of immigrants who have emigrated to the U.S. over the past twenty years. Until the Consent Decree of 1990, the myth that ESOL students were all concentrated in south Florida exacerbated many efforts for support in other parts of the state. On the other hand, proponents for ESOL students’ needs in south Florida expressed their concerns that they felt “alone” with the challenges of seeking sufficient support to meet the needs of the growing linguistic diversity among their students. Today we can say, “We’ve come a long way, baby!” We cannot deny, however, that our students and our profession remain marginalized.

ESL professionals sometimes describe their discipline as an amorphous and undefined field within educational circles. They struggle for recognition and are frequently excluded from policy making boards that influence standards and principles relative to ESOL students. Florida, like most states, has relatively few language professionals in positions of influence at the state level. As ESOL professionals we can make a difference. Likewise, we can convince our students and their parents that what they have to say can also make a difference.

  • Keep Yourself Informed
  • Stay abreast of issues that will impact your students through newsletters, the internet, newspaper editorials from local papers, and local other sources.
  • Identify and share issues.
  • Join the FLSSTESOL list serve (
  • Access back issues of the TESOL Federal Update
  • Know who your local and national officials are and what committees they serve on
  • Learn the process for action at the local, state and federal levels: Find out when these processes might influence your program and/or students

Take Action

  • See Legislative Contacts within the SSTESOL Advocacy Home Page to find names and addresses of your congressional representatives.
  • Identify policymakers. Build a relationship with your local representatives and invite them to your class. Let them see how ESOL instruction benefits the community. Start with regional supervisors, city council representatives or school board members first. Concentrate on one and build a relationship.
  • Use success stories liberally. Have students write stories about themselves and how ESOL instruction is helping them towards success in school and/or towards participation in the community. Share them with policymakers. Contact the local newspaper and try to get a feature article about ESOL in your district or your school.
  • Communicate. Write letters, make phone calls, make personal visits, and give testimony particularly when called upon by SSTESOL or International TESOL.

12 tips for letter writing to legislators:

1. identify yourself as a constituent;

2. identify only one issue per letter;

3. identify a bill specifically, if appropriate;

4. write the letter in your own words and personalize the issue;

5. state your position succinctly;

6. provide background facts;

7. be specific about what you want the legislator to do;

8. write to say you approve, not just to complain or oppose;

9. include pertinent information from local papers;

10. be positive and concise, not vague, rude or threatening;

11. briefly thank the official;

12. don’t apologize for taking the person’s time.

13.  Follow-up. Follow-up letters with a phone call, especially if you have not received a reply.

14. If your legislator takes a stand or casts a vote that reflects your position, send them a thank-you letter.

Arrange meetings with officials if you have a focused issue.

Tips for meeting with officials and policy maker

1. make sure you have done your homework regarding the specifics of a focused issue;

2. address no more than one or two issues and do not plan to spend more than 30 minutes with your legislator;

3. state the issue and the desired outcome: “I’d like to talk about adult ESL education. We need your support for maintaining current levels of funding because…

4. personalize the issue in human terms: “I have 25 adult students in my ESOL class who are preparing to enter the workforce when they improve their English..”

5. know how to respectfully disagree if the policymaker is an opponent;

6. seek a commitment, but be prepared to explore what issues must be resolved before a decision can be made;

7. offer to serve as a resource and to provide additional information;

8. if you receive a negative response, ask if you can send further information,but don’t press for a change in position on the spot;

9. if you can’t answer a question, admit you don’t know and say you’ll get back to them;

10. write a thank you note for their time.

Empower Your Students

  • Educate your students to become advocates. Use pending legislation as a comprehensible and meaningful learning experience. Assist them in gleaning information about an issue and have them write letters to their legislator.
  • Plan projects. Invite at least one official annually to your class. You might tie this in with other cultural events or celebrations in your school or specifically within your classroom.
  • Be flexible. Be prepared to alternate dates and to accept alternate officials who might be available to represent the official you originally invited.
  • Invite parental involvement. Mutual encouragement among parents and children can assist all of them to believe that their expressions have the potential to make a positive impact upon the perceptions of policymakers.

* Adapted and used with permission from Dynamics of Grassroots Advocacy. (2000). Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.