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The Science of Advocacy: A Little Opposition Is a Good Thing

An increasing focus on the science of learning is making a difference cover-photo-2in classrooms across the country. To tap the similar potential of bringing a scientific mindset to the complex work of education advocacy, FutureEd has partnered with 50CAN to establish AdvocacyLabs, an initiative combining lessons from rigorous academic research on advocacy with data from a wide range of education advocacy campaigns. The goal is to provide insights into the most effective ways to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable students in the nation's schools and colleges.

Our first publication, A Little Opposition Is a Good Thing and Other Lessons from the Science of Advocacy, is a compendium of 17 advocacy lessons drawn from the most significant academic studies of advocacy over the past 40 years, together with interviews with leading researchers on advocacy techniques, discussion questions, and a robust bibliography advocacy-labs-graphic-1 of sources and resources. We have designed the report to be immediately useful to practicing advocates.

Written by 50CAN Chief Executive Officer Marc Porter Magee, the report explores such questions as: What kind of goals should advocates aim for in campaigns? How does one recruit people to a cause? What does effective lobbying look like? How long should an advocacy campaign last? And what are the biggest mistakes to avoid in advocacy work?

Read the full report