As we look toward 2016, it is important to reflect on what we have all achieved together in 2015 as we have worked hard to keep the public conversation about education focused on making sure equal public education opportunities exist for all students in the Commonwealth.
We are making progress and our work is critical: education is now a top issue for voters in poll after poll. Education Voters of PA played an important role engaging people, educating them, training them and creating opportunities for action!
- Following his election, running on the issue of education in response to public demand, Governor Wolf proposed significant funding to restore the education cuts made by the previous administration in his first budget. The Basic Education Funding Commission proposed a new funding formula that would result in a fair distribution of new basic education funds that has bi-partisan support (and seems poised for adoption if a budget deal ever gets done).
- In 2015, we conducted in-person advocacy and issues training for over 400 parents and community leaders throughout Pennsylvania and we started a new webinar program.
- We are a founding member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding and work with statewide organizations to raise the profile of the need for adequate and fair funding for all schools in communities throughout Pennsylvania. As part of this coalition, we organized a successful “Education Day at the Capitol” in June, attended by hundreds of public education supporters.
- Over 560 people from 17 counties, including the Chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees and other legislators and staff attended public forums about education funding that we organized and convened with our allies and community partners from Erie to York and southeastern PA.
- We make sure that education issues are in the news. We garnered media coverage more than 30 times this year through coverage of our events and press conferences, printing of our op-eds and interviews and quotes from staff and activists.
- We regularly provide information and advocacy tools to over 20,000 Pennsylvanians who are part of our email networks to keep them informed about what is happening in Harrisburg and to allow them to take action to support good policies for schools. Our emails and “Call to Action for Education” days in 2015 drew participation from over 40 organizations and resulted in lawmakers receiving thousands of emails and phone calls from voters in their districts.
- We write policy papers about issues that matter to our public schools (you can find them on our website). We share these papers with lawmakers to help inform policy decisions in Harrisburg and with advocates and the community to create a better understanding of what good education policy in PA looks like.
- We’ve had 41,215 visits to our website in the past year, with over 7680 visits to our fact sheet “Education and the Economy.” (and BTW, go visit our NEW re-designed website!)
- We’ve presented to over a dozen organizations, training their leaders and members as well.
- More than 1400 people, representing EVERY county in PA signed the “We the People” letter which was delivered to nearly every member of the General Assembly.
Education Voters plays a unique role in bringing together and raising up diverse voices throughout PA that support great public schools for all children and, to continue to fill this role, we need your support.
As we look forward to 2016, we know that we have much work to do in keeping the conversation focused on ensuring that all children in PA have an opportunity to learn.
We must continue building a base of support among parents and community members throughout the Commonwealth and we need your support to do this.
The budget impasse in Harrisburg this year highlights the need for our state legislature to adopt a formula to allocate state dollars to school and to commit to providing adequate, equitable funding to our children’s schools. State funding for schools must be predictable and reliable, not a bargaining chip in Harrisburg during budget season.
With so much at stake, we hope you will consider investing in Education Voters of PA. We don’t ask for donations often and we don’t make this ask lightly—but we do encourage you to make this generous gesture in recognition of the important work that Education Voters of PA does.
We have an ambitious agenda to continue building support for fair funding and sensible policies for PA’s schools —and we are succeeding.
We see the promise of what we can achieve when working with parents, community members and key organizational partners.