Engaging in Political Leadership and Public Policy Advocacy

Authored by: Tammy L. Hughes , Celeste M. Malone

Handbook of University and Professional Careers in School Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367353674
eBook ISBN: 9780429330964
Adobe ISBN:


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Advocacy is embedded in the education and training of school psychologists and in their day-to-day professional practice. However, school psychologists identify many barriers to advocacy including disinterest, lack of advocacy knowledge and skills, lack of awareness of public policy issues, and negative past experiences in advocacy. Professional action can become overly complex given the needs of the population or when there are numerous competing requests from a variety of stakeholders; these are called wicked problems. Using the advocacy competencies adopted by the American Counseling Association, this chapter guides school psychologists to expand their advocacy efforts by working-with and working-on-behalf-of students, schools and the public. Recommendations include developing skills through graduate training programs, accessing professional training, resources, and fellowships for professionals already in practice as well as engaging in the professional activities through NASP and APA. A case example highlights problem-solving when there are a number and diversity of stakeholders whose influence can undermine progress if their priorities are not considered. This example highlights where school psychologists are well equipped to address advocacy and where there is need for professional development. Finally, the authors call for an increased effort in developing the science behind advocacy in the school psychology arena.

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