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AAUW Ohio Public Policy E-Newsletter, 3-10-13

AAUW Ohio Public Policy E-Newsletter

By Jackie Evangelista, AAUW Ohio Public Policy Co-Chair, jevangelista@roadrunner.com, 3-10-13

Dear AAUW Ohio Branch Presidents, Public Policy Chairs and Newsletter Editors:  If we believe in our AAUW public policy program, we should all feel called at this particular time to speak out in support or our positions especially public education.  But to do that effectively, we need to become informed. We are fortunate to once again have Dr. Damon Asbury, who spoke at our summer Leadership Conference, with us at our upcoming convention to sort out the challenges Gov. Kasich’s new budget presents for the future of public education. And you will also learn about a very impressive project the Youngstown Branch did in support of public education that you could replicate in your communities.  So please get registered for the AAUW Convention soon and plan for a spring getaway to Newark with a carload of branch members.  Also, remember that Equal Pay Day is April 9.  In case you missed it, we are reprinting a slightly modified segment from our last e-newsletter that offers lots of excellent ways to observe the infamous day. Our AAUW Advocate Karen Rainey and I would very much like to see you at our convention breakouts on Saturday, April 6, as we hopefully also will be celebrating the arrival of spring. Jackie

PUBLIC EDUCATION TO BE FOCUS OF TWO POLICY BREAKOUTS AT OHIO CONVENTION
It’s time for AAUW members to laser focus on public education while our state legislature debates a budget that most likely will continue the privatization that has slowly gained a significant foothold in Ohio over the past 20 plus years.  Each of us has the ability to speak out individually and to contact our legislators, and never believe that your voice does not make a difference.  it does. Also branches can offer programs to inform and influence the public. On the Saturday afternoon of April 6 at our our convention in Newark, Ohio Advocate Karen Rainey and I have planned two breakout sessions back to back that will give you the facts you need to knowledgeably express your views on this subject.
First, Karen and I will offer a session entitled “School Funding: Questions, Questions and More Questions.”  Because the new funding formula and budget are so complex, we have asked Dr. Damon Asbury, who spoke at our Leadership Conference this summer, to return and help us understand how the budget will affect our local public schools.  As the legislative director for the Ohio School Boards Association, one of Dr. Asbury’s top priorities is to evaluate the proposed education budget. Hopefully, he will be able to shed light on a subject about which news reports have been very confusing. The information coming out about vouchers is especially troubling. The Cleveland Plain Dealer in a Sunday editorial has already called for a “do-over” of the education budget:  http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/03/how_about_an_ohio_school_fundi.html#incart_river.  The budget likely will not be finalized until June so each and every AAUW member as well as branches collectively have plenty of time to lobby our legislators in support of public education. Karen and I will update you on other important pending issues such as Rep. Fedor’s trafficking bill and developments in voting rights either during the session or via handouts.
Then Youngstown Branch Public Policy Chair Barbara Brothers will give a breakout entitled “Do You Know How Your Local Tax Dollars Are Being Spent?” that describes a public meeting she spearheaded as a member of both the League of Women Voters and her branch about the impact of choice on public school funding. She brought in experts and also did research with the treasurer of her local board of education. See if you can answer the six true/false questions she poses to focus our attention:  1. When property gets reevaluated every six years and the value goes up so too do my taxes; 2. School choice affects the finances of my local excellent school district; 3. My local property taxes support private education including parochial and for-profit; 4. Schools with a diverse student population are important to the future of our nation; 5. Charter schools perform better than public schools. 6. Charter schools spend more on instruction and less on administration than public schools. Learn how she gathered the information needed to label these statements true or false and how the public meeting was planned. Emulating this program in your area would allow your branch to provide an important public service.
The registration price for the convention goes up March 23 so please sign up soon.  You can get program details and download a registration form and/or register online with Paypal at:  http://aauwoh.org/aauwoh/events/aauw-ohio-equity-day-and-convention-2013/.  To be held at the new deluxe Newark Metropolitan Hotel (www.newarkmetrohotel.com) sponsored by the Southeast District and chaired by Southeast District Coordinator Janice Tucker-McCloud, the convention will open Friday evening, April 5, with the All-Convention Book Read, which is focussed onTripping the Prom Queen by Susan Shapiro Barash. The theme will be “An AAUW Tapestry: Weaving the Threads of Engagement, Enrichment and Empowerment.”  Several interesting keynote speakers including Holly Kearl, author of Stop Street Harassment: Making Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, and breakouts will be featured on Saturday, April 6.  The Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, April 7.
Also, if you are interested in hearing Melissa Harris-Perry and Lilly Ledbetter in person, plan to attend the AAUW Convention June 9-12 in New Orleans.  Early Bird Rates continue until April 14.  View price information and register at:  http://convention.aauw.org/register/.  The convention website gives other program and travel information.

HOW TO OBSERVE EQUAL PAY DAY

If you have a branch meeting scheduled between now and April 9, which is Equal Pay Day, please take a few moments to report the following information and publish it in your newsletter:  For nearly a decade, NO PROGRESS has been made on pay equity; that is, women working full time have continued to earn only 77 percent of what men earn, which is also Ohio’s differential.  Please encourage your members to look at AAUW’s pay gap report, “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap” at:  http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap-2012.pdf.  Some of our fellow citizens believe that this gap is simply a reflection of the fact that most women choose to prioritize family over job. However, AAUW’s recent research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, takes some of the air out of that argument by revealing that one year out of college, a typical college-educated woman working full time earned $35,296 a year, compared to $42,918 for a comparably educated man. Please encourage your members to look at this report also at:  http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/graduating-to-a-pay-gap-the-earnings-of-women-and-men-one-year-after-college-graduation.pdf.  Of course, both of these reports offer plenty of fodder for an excellent program should a member wish to take it on.  In today’s world when a woman’s income is often the sole means of a family’s support or at least a necessary addition, it is not morally just to allow male dominated job categories to be more highly compensated than female dominated categories.  I have heard many more television commentators expressing the view openly that this wage gap is ludicrous and that pay equity is long overdue.  It’s time to capitalize on this support and work to educate our fellow citizens and perhaps our own members about this issue. Support for it might also help you bring in younger working women if you reach out to them.
AAUW Public Policy’s updated Pay Equity Resource Kit for 2013:  http://www.aauw.org/act/issue_advocacy/actionpages/upload/AAUWPayEquityResourceKit2013.pdf offers a wealth of information and ideas if you will but take the time to look at it. Here are a few of the strategies for publicizing the pay gap offered:
  • Public Education: Start at the branch level by inserting an article in your next newsletter about pay equity (check out Appendix D in the Resource Kit) and discussing the issue at a meeting before Equal Pay Day. Review the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro introduced in January. Issue a branch press release about Equal Pay Day (see Appendix B).  If your branch has a book group, read and discuss Lily Ledbetter’s book, Grace and Grit.  To interest working women, organize a lunch meeting and focus on AAUW’s Pay Equity campaign (see the Wage Project’s discussion ideas at: www.wageproject.org/pdf/discussion.pdf).
  • Legislative Advocacy:  Ask your legislator to sign a Fair Pay Pledge (page 18 of the Resource Kit), ask your governor, city council or mayor to proclaim Equal Pay Day, and meet with your legislator to advocate for the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • Media Outreach: At your next meeting decide to send a letter, op-ed or public service announcement to the editor of your local newspaper drawing information from the Resource Kit and its many links and place an ad or submit an article to your local college newspaper about Equal Pay Day and/or any event you have planned around it.
  • Plan and Publicize an Activity:  Pay equity bake or beverage sales and Unhappy Hours have been successful for branches.  See other ideas on page 21 of the Resource Kit.
Read AAUW’s position on pay equity at:  http://www.aauw.org/act/issue_advocacy/actionpages/payequity.cfm. Access state-by-state 2011 gender pay gap data at:  http://www.aauw.org/learn/research/upload/state-by-state-wage-chart.pdf.
ANTI BIRTH CONTROL FORCES INFLUENCING NORTHEAST OHIO PROGRAM
One of the most startling aspects of our most recent election for many women was the degree to which contraception came under attack.  Most women thought this was a settled issue. You might be interested in knowing that availability is under attack in Northeast Ohio’s Geauga County.  The Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio (FPANEO), which has been providing reproductive health care services on a sliding scale to poor women including pregnancy care, contraception and breast cancer checks since the early 70s in three northeast Ohio counties, has been hounded out of three locations in the county, and protestors are now attempting to get a doctor to evict them from a fourth location–office space he leased to them for two clinics per month. While FPANEO has never offered abortions, those who have protested outside their facilities over the years make various specious or false claims connecting the agency to abortions.  They report that the organization refers women for abortions when what they really do is provide information–a piece of paper that lists places in Northeast Ohio where a woman can get an abortion–the same information that is available online or in a phone book.  They do not set up appointments for clients or transport them and do not encourage or discourage the procedure believing that it is up to the individual client to make the decision.  More significantly, protestors will often claim that the most popular forms of contraception including the pill and IUD cause an abortion suggesting that they oppose the use of these contraceptives also. This, in fact, is the basis for much of the opposition to contraception that we saw in recent months.  It is a rationale that was confined to the ranks of extremists for decades but has now seen the light of day.  It is important for those who consider themselves more moderate on this issue to be aware of how this thinking also underlies efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and to push back when extremist organizations attempt to bully those who are offering services that the vast majority of people find necessary and acceptable. 
 
MIGHT WANT TO SIGN CHANGE.ORG PETITION ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT
You may be aware that anyone can petition for change via the website change.org.  I recently received information about two young persons, one an athlete and one a rape counselor, who were outraged by the prolonged sexual assault of a young woman in Steubenville by high school student athletes and are petitioning the National Federation of High School Associations, which trains coaches in 18,000 high schools, to develop training to prevent such sexual assaults.  You may want to sign their petition at:  http://www.change.org/petitions/national-federation-of-high-school-associations-educate-high-school-coaches-about-sexual-assault?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=19790&alert_id=bGNxDKtIfc_TZXMTHRmvX.
I would be interested in your feedback on any topic discussed in this newsletter.  Below is the latest edition of the newly reformatted AAUW WashingtonUpdate featuring our new logo in case you do not receive it. Note the article about President Obama signing the Violence Against Women Act.
 
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