Amaris Ketcham

Keep It Real and Other Advocacy Tips

Blog Post created by Amaris Ketcham on Dec 12, 2011

Your weekly update from the National Council for Agricultural Education



Nutritious food, junk food, credible science, junk science. Sometimes hard to tell what is truly science-based, but Friday Notes offers many of the current issues, and page one this week includes dust, meat myths, and the child labor law debate. Check the blog link for the Mr. Ed angle of the horse issue.

Check out current news and controversial issues in the world of agriculture and science from The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology's (CAST) weekly online newsletter, Friday Notes. Thanks to a grant from Winfield Solutions (a Land O’Lakes company), instructors of agriculture have access to the wide range of material from CAST, and they may forward the information to students for educational use with no strings attached.

Click here to access the December 9 edition of CASTFriday Notes.

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Dear Colleague Letter to Senators Regarding
Child Labor Laws

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (Kansas) and U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (Nebraska) have prepared a “Dear Colleague” letter regarding the proposed rulemaking on the child labor laws.  It is important that you contact your U.S. senators’ offices immediately and ask them to sign on to the Moran/Nelson Dear Colleague letter regarding the child labor laws pertaining to agricultural labor.

A copy of the Dear Colleague letter may be accessed here and a copy of a 12-page letter that the senators submitted to the Department of Labor is here.You can get your two senators’ phone numbers from the NAAE Legislative Action Center. More info>>


Great professional development webinar from AAFCS! Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Separating Fact from Fiction. The controversy over genetically modified foods rages on, while consumers and health/nutrition professionals try to sort through the science in order to understand the relative advantages and disadvantages of eating foods that have had their genes altered in some way. ThisTuesday, December 13th at 4:00pm EST. Special NAAE Member Rate
$40 with the code: BUCKLE. Register>>


Communities of Practice


From FFA

Today’s Challenges; Today’s Leaders: Real World Conversations for the Classroom
Visit to find this new lesson resource for teachers to enhance student leadership skills and develop an awareness of the world around them. Twenty lesson plans around diversity, hunger, advocacy and sustainability for candid conversations that empower students to lead.


REL Appalachia Provides Tools for Rural Schools Webinar Series
The Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia (REL Appalachia) is finishing 2011 with a bang! Three Webinars are scheduled over the next two weeks, starting tomorrow (Thursday, Dec. 8) on important topics for education and career training in rural areas. Learn more here or visit the REL Appalachia Web site,

The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia serves the applied education research needs of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. REL Appalachia is part of a system of 10 research laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, which supports efforts to improve public education at the state, local, and school level. Encourage supporters of education in rural areas to "Get Connected" by subscribing to the Rural Education listserv


The National FFA Organization will not be offering the Agri-Entrepreneurship Program in 2012. We will spend this next year evaluating this program’s format and impact. State staff and advisors will be notified whether the program will continue or be revised for 2013. If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Carter at or 317-802-4271.


FFA: Food For All - Grant Opportunity to Help Fight Hunger!
There are still a couple days to apply for FFA: Food For All Grants. Chapters may apply for up to $2,500 to support year-long service-learning projects focused on developing and implementing sustainable hunger programs. Project concepts include, but are not limited to; community gardens, raising broilers or tilapia and educational outreach. Visit the FFA: Food For All website for the application and additional information. Applications are due Dec. 15 with award announcements being made the week of Feb. 6-10. Grants are provided through funding from Farmers Feeding the World and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Applications due by Dec. 15th


From CTE

Perkins Funding Still in Jeopardy
The continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress last month is set to expire on December 16. Having passed three of the 12 appropriations bills, Congress must now pass the remaining nine bills or another CR.Call your Member of Congress today and encourage them to work to complete the remaining appropriations bills and to fund the Perkins Act at FY11 levels. You can reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators' and/or Representative's office. See details»


Here is a useful collection of advocacy tips:

Connections CountAlways Be Honest
Keep It Real!Involve the Business Community
Specific Statements SucceedUse External Research Sources
Be FlexibleUtilize Staff Connections
Put a Face on Your Program Visual
Actions Speak Louder Than Words Common Ground
Know the FactsShow Them What You've Got!


From the US Dept. of Education


The U.S. Department of Education announced today that 33 states and the District of Columbia have submitted intents to nominate schools for the new Green Ribbon Schools awards program launched this past September. Schools nominated by state education agencies are eligible to receive the award.  

“We are excited about the potential impact the Green Ribbon Schools awards program can have in encouraging schools to improve their energy efficiency, create healthy environments for students and staff, and enhance their work to effectively prepare graduates for 21st century careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The program asks states to nominate schools in their jurisdiction that come closest to achieving the high bar that Green Ribbon sets: net zero environmental impact of facilities, net positive health impact on students and staff, and 100% environmentally literate graduates.
U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools Director Rachel Gutter has commended the program as “the biggest thing to happen to the green schools movement.”

The program has facilitated collaboration among federal agencies, state governments and non-governmental entities to bring more private and public resources to support schools in spite of tough economic times.

Participating states are currently posting applications for schools in their jurisdictions, and will submit nominees to the Department by March 22, 2012. The Department will announce winners in April, 2012 and will host the first national U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools ceremony in Washington, D.C., in late May 2012. The national ceremony will be followed by local ceremonies at each of the winning schools in fall 2012. Learn more>>