What is the campaign?
The “I Love Public Education” campaign is an ongoing effort to highlight why public schools are essential to developing the future generations that will maintain our country’s status as a world leader. The campaign will help to re-frame the current national dialogue around public education to highlight the critical role public schools play as the bedrock of our civic society and their work to prepare students to be successful, contributing members of their local, national and global communities.
Why this campaign?
While we know that public education is the law and that public education helped America become a productive, progressive country, America is currently on the path to dismantle public education. How do we know this?
- Lack of federal investment in public schools: There is $9 billion worth of funding for key federal programs that support our nation’s public schools on the chopping block in President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. The budget proposal cuts the Title I, IDEA and Carl D. Perkins allocations, and completely eliminates ESSA Titles II and IV, as well as the 21st Century Community Learning Center program.
- New money for privatization and vouchers: On top of these direct budget cuts, every new K-12 dollar that has been added to the budget is for privatization and choice. Trump proposes $1.4 billion in funding for privatization, including $1 billion for a rewritten pilot within Title I related to portability and open enrollment; $250 million for voucher research; and $168 million for charters.
- The recent tax bill includes provisions that undermine the strength and opportunity of our nation’s public education system: limitations to state and local tax deductions, expansion of 529 proposals, elimination of school bond/financing options, and relies on deficit financing. By limiting state and local tax deductions to $10,000, Congress ignores the concept of federalism, compromises the sovereignty of state and local governments as it relates to their tax base, and increases the cost and burden of taxes that could support public schools. The bill expands the 529 program the definition of “qualified higher education expenses” to include up to $10,000 a year in elementary and high school tuition and incentivize families to educate their children in private schools. The bill changes how state and local governments, including school districts, can issue tax-credit bonds for school construction projects and tax-exempt advanced refunding bonds (ARBs) for refinancing debt, changes that make it more expensive/costly for districts to afford and finance critical infrastructure projects. Lastly, Congress already struggles to avoid deep cuts to important education programs as they work to comply with existing federal funding caps and constraints; a deficit-financed tax bill will only exacerbate this tension and the depth of cuts to important education programs. Broader analysis and detail is available on AASA’s The Leading Edge blog.
By every criteria and measure we use, reading and math scores in NAEP, high school graduation, drop-out rates, college attendance rates, public education’s performance is the best that is has ever been. Do we want to do better? Of course we do! But we need your help and we need a greater investment in our nation’s public schools.
There has never been a more important time to speak out about the value of Public Education.
What can I do?
A key component of the campaign includes fostering conversations and strong actions to allow schools to provide the best support to students. Everyone with a stake in education is encouraged to support this campaign by sharing why they #LovePublicEducation on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, et al.); by submitting a story that details the importance of public education, here; by adopting a resolution in support of public education in your own school district (read ours, here.); and by signing up to stay connected to the campaign through news alerts from AASA.
Who is AASA?
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.