AAUW of Ohio President Christine Siebeneck is in Washington, D.C. today to lobby for the ESEA. She will meet with Representatives Joyce Beatty and Bob Latta and Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. She sent us this dispatch early this morning:
Take Action: Call your member of Congress today and tell them to support the inclusion of key civil rights principles when they consider the education bill (ESEA) this month.
In July, the Senate passed a bill to reauthorize the nation’s most important education law for our country’s children – the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). While the Senate bill contained some important civil rights priorities, it failed to meaningfully protect critical areas of importance, particularly for the most vulnerable students. In addition, the bill passed by the House of Representatives to reauthorize the ESEA would severely undermine civil rights protections for underserved students.
This month, members of Congress will come together in conference to negotiate the final education bill to reauthorize the ESEA and pass a final bill that can then be sent to the president for his signature. As Congress heads into the conference process, where a joint House and Senate bill will be developed, it is important that the conference committee address the four main concerns we have with the Senate version of the bill.
This week, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and other civil rights organizations are ramping up their activity around the ESEA. Education advocates and state leaders from across the country are coming to Washington, D.C. to meet with and urge members of Congress to pass an education bill that includes key civil rights principles to protect all students.
The final education bill must reflect these four civil rights priorities in order to ensure equal opportunity in education for all children:
- Strengthening accountability for student outcomes;
• Providing additional data on student groups;
• Addressing disparities in resources; and
• Preserving a meaningful federal role in education.
Let your members of Congress know that you support these principles and urge them to ensure that the final education bill reauthorizing the ESEA includes these four crucial civil rights priorities so that every student can receive a high-quality education.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the website of the Northeast Ohio Branch.
Jan Resseger, prominent education blogger who served for 15 years as Lay Minister for Public Education with the national United Church of Christ, shared eye-opening information about the increasing impact of charter schools on public school funding at the Northeast Ohio Branch Nov. 5 program and dinner at Little Mountain Brewing.
The strategy of privatizers has been to chip away so slowly that citizens have barely noticed. Most are not aware that significant locally generated tax millage is now being diverted to charter schools.
Along with the major cuts the state has made in funding public education, most local school districts are experiencing severe budget challenges.
For those unable to attend this program, we are attaching Jan’s remarks as well as a one-pager she provided titled “What To Do About our Education Policy Problems in the United States.” If you are concerned about the erosion of public education in our country, please click on the links, read these pieces and then choose your action strategy.
Ohio is on the verge of making history. For too long, political parties have been able to draw state legislative districts that put partisan politics above fair representation. The Ohio legislature has now sent to the voters a proposal to create a new redistricting commission that requires bipartisan support, forbids drawing districts to benefit incumbents or political parties, and creates greater transparency to help Ohioans make their voices heard. To make this historic reform a reality, Ohio voters must pass this important change to the Ohio Constitution on November 3.
Show your support for fair redistricting that puts Ohio voters first. Vote YES on Issue 1.
Approval of Issue 1 will allow for the creation of a seven-person bipartisan commission with at least two members of the minority party. Issue 1 will also create an open process with more public input before a new plan is adopted.
Ohio deserves fair elections, fair districts, and fair representation.
The new 2016 campus sites will be:
- Bowling Green University
- Central Connecticut State University
- College of Charleston
- Davidson College
- Iowa State University
- Mississippi University for Women
- Princeton University
- Rockford University
- Saddleback College
- San Jose State University
- Sierra College
- University of New Mexico
- Wheaton College
As a new 2016 site, joins the 2015 sites, which can be found here. They include three institutions in Ohio: Denison, University of Cincinnati and Wright State.
Cleveland Branch had a membership drive at the Clague Road Playhouse in Westlake on Sept. 20. The afternoon featured the Ghost Train and refreshments during intermission. Here are some photos from the event.
As summer comes to a close, take a break from what you are doing and read the AAUW of Ohio Orbit Summer 2015 issue. In it you’ll find:
- A message from President Christine Siebeneck: Challenge Social Constructs: Focus on Achievements, not Appearance, Pg. 2
- A public policy update from Karen Rainey: Prepping for Elections, Pg. 3
- Photos and a link to resources from Leadership Workshop 2015: Do Your Job Better!, Pg. 4
- From honors to book sales, our branches are making news, Pg. 5
- State resources you can use, Pg. 6
- Membership counts: How does your branch compare?, Pg. 7
- New AAUW resources, Pg. 7
You can also download past issues of Ohio Orbit.
By Karen Rainey
AAUW of Ohio Public Policy Chair
Here’s the “ Issue of the Month” plus other news to share with your branches. Please make time on your September meeting agendas to include an update on AAUW concerns.
In this issue:
- Issue of the Month: Charter school reform
- New website with voter information on all judicial candidates
- New website on AAUW-endorsed Issue 1, redistricting reform
- National Voter Registration Day, September 22
- Reminder: Sign up for Two-Minute Activist
- New brochures available
Charter School Reform Needs to Happen Now
Both houses of the General Assembly are due back after their summer recess this month; they need to act in concord to make reform happen. The Senate improved on transparency and accountability issues when it passed House Bill 2, but the House did not agree with the changes before recessing last June. The House needs to concur with the changes or both houses need to appoint a conference committee to iron out their differences. Call your senator and representative to urge their support; you can use the legislative hot line, 1-800-282-0253. For more information on the performance and impact of charter schools, go to www.knowyourcharter.com.
Judicial Votes Count: New Statewide Voter Service
A new statewide voter education web site, www.JudicialVotesCount.org, is live as of September 1. It includes profiles of every judicial candidate in the state, along with a variety of information on what Ohio’s courts do. Why? Because voters frequently pass up voting on judicial races, feeling that they don’t have enough information to make an informed choice. The new site is strictly nonpartisan, and is the product of a partnership of the Supreme Court chief justice, the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, which houses the web site, the Ohio State Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio Newspaper Association, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.
Redistricting Reform: Fair Districts = Fair Elections
Supporters of Issue 1, the redistricting reform constitutional amendment that will be on November’s ballot, have created a new web site, www.yesforissue1.org, Here you can get the details of the proposal , an explanation of gerrymandering and why it’s so damaging, a list of all endorsers to date (including AAUW), and sign up to volunteer. Because redistricting tends to be an arcane topic, voter education is critical to passage of the amendment. Be sure that you—and your friends and neighbors— are informed of the importance of this amendment.
National Voter Registration Day September 22
AAUW is solidly behind National Voter Registration Day, coming up on September 22, and there are ample resources for getting started on the association web site, www.aauw.org. At the least, please use your Facebook posts and other social media to remind people to register to vote. Anyone needing to update their address can do so on line at the Secretary of State’s web site, www.sos.state.oh.us. And if a voter has been inactive for more than four years, that voter could be purged from the poll books and will need to reregister.
Reminder: Two-Minute Activist
Now—the beginning of the program year—is a good time to solicit your branch members to sign up for the two-minute activist. It’s the easy way to make sure your voice is heard in Congress on the issues that matter to AAUW members. Just go to www.aauw.org/what-we-do/public-policy/two-minuteactivist/ and enter your email address.
New Brochures Available
Both AAUW and AAUW Ohio have brochures available for downloading that outline our public policy program. Use them to inform members and prospective members about our legislative goals.
Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.