PAA Week – Day 1: 3 easy things to do to impact education policy

3 Easy Things  

Since it’s still summer and school has not yet started for most of us, we’re going to start PAA Week off with 3 Easy Things you can do from the comfort of your home to have an impact on education policy!

Find out who handles education in your Senators’ and Congressperson’s office.

We usually urge you to contact your elected officials directly, but we also know that they all have legislative aides who do most of the policy research and analysis for them. That’s a key person know, and to copy on emails and other communication you send to your legislators. So, call their home or DC offices (House contact list here and Senate contact list here) and ask for the email address and phone number for the person on (name of legislator)’s staff who deals with K-12 education issues. Extra credit if you shoot them today an email to introduce yourself, or wait until tomorrow and send them our survey report!

Sign the NAACP Thunderclap petition for a moratorium on charter schools

The NAACP has done an amazing amount of work to develop a strong position on charter schools. They adopted a position statement last fall that called for a charter school moratorium, which earned them a lot of flak from charter proponents. So, they spent the past year holding hearings around the country to get feedback on their position and other education issues. The results was a wonderful task force report which reinforced their original position. Those who have tried to call school choice the “civil rights issue of our generation” will find that claim a lot harder to sell given the opposition of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Let’s support them by signing their petition.

Your choice (extra credit for doing all three! They are in order of increasing difficulty…)

a) Take a look at and bookmark site offers a wide variety of information about government and politics.

b) Check this list to see if/how many of your state legislators are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a group that brings corporate leaders together with state legislators to create and promote legislation that favors corporate interests. (Extra extra credit for sharing the list with your networks).

c) Send a Freedom of Information Act request (may be called something else in your state).

FOIA requests can get you some first rate ammunition to use in your local advocacy campaigns. Read here about PURE’s “Fun with FOIAs” – how this Chicago group used FOIAs to debunk and challenge Chicago’s school closings and charter expansion. PURE sent FOIAs to every charter school in the district asking for minutes of their board meetings for the past 2 years. You could also ask for their budgets.

Here is a sample FOIA letter.

Not a Beach Read…

For you hard core advocates — our Capitol Hill Toolkit.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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