As the national organization for school superintendents across the country, AASA is in the best position to lead the dialogue about the importance of public education. Last summer, we launched the I Love Public Education campaign, an ongoing effort to highlight the success of public education. To help our members as well as non-members speak out about the value of public education, we are pleased to present AASA’s I Love Public Education Toolkit.
This package of turn key materials will help you effectively communicate the appropriate messaging of critical value public education has in our society with your key stakeholders—board members, business and community leaders, staff, parents, students and the media. In addition, the kit also contains a social media guide that we encourage you to use and share with your colleagues and the community.
Fact Sheet: Information describing the I Love Public Education campaign, its critical objectives and some of the key issues at stake currently facing public schools.
Key Messages: Statements providing why public schools are essential in the United States, which is the basis of the I Love Public Education campaign.
Talking Points: Bullet points targeted for an array of audiences, including school district staff, board members, business and community leaders, parents and the media.
Communications Templates: Tools to assist superintendents and other administrators communicate with key audiences, including board members, the community and the media.
Social Media Templates: A comprehensive package of suggested posts that can be implemented on your district’s social media platforms.
Presentation Templates: A collection of additional materials including a PowerPoint presentation, badges and graphic displays to enhance communications with your district’s primary and secondary audiences.
Adoptable Resolution: Following the AASA governing board’s unanimous adoption of the Resolution in Support of Public Education, it’s time to take the message to the local level: school districts. We ask our members to work with their local school board to make the resolution a meeting agenda item, and that the board and superintendent work together to adopt their district’s ‘I Love Public Education’ resolution this fall. You can adopt the AASA version unedited, you can modify the attached version, or you can use our version as a starting point for your district’s unique ‘I Love Public Education’ resolution.
WHAT IS THE CAMPAIGN?
The “I Love Public Education” campaign is an ongoing effort to highlight why public schools are essential to develop the future generations that will maintain our country’s status as a world leader. The campaign will help 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.
The campaign was launched by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, following the organization’s 2017 Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. where hundreds of superintendents—America’s foremost thought leaders in public education—discussed critical issues facing our schools. During the meeting, AASA’s Governing Board drafted, finalized and adopted the official resolution in support of the campaign.
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. While the President’s budget proposal is dead on arrival, it will provide a framework by which the House and Senate could advance deeper cuts than they otherwise would. The larger, more pressing funding issue is about ensuring that Congress raise the caps on discretionary funding in the federal budget and maintain parity between defense and non-defense discretionary funding while doing so. The reality is that the continued pressure of the budget caps exacerbates the pressure on Congress to cut, cut, cut and completely bypasses any realistic conversation about what the appropriate and adequate funding levels are and should be.
SUPPORT FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAMS
Across the U.S., legislation to privatize public education funding continues to gain traction. Currently, there are 52 private school choice voucher programs in 26 states and Washington, D.C. In 2017, Congress reauthorized the only federal voucher program, the D.C. voucher program despite clear evidence that the program hinders academic achievement. Any dollar spent to subsidize or incentivize private school education is a dollar lost on the public education system that educates 90 percent of Americans and must accept and educate any and all school-aged children.
TAX REFORM THAT INCLUDES TAX CREDITS WHICH DIRECT FUNDING AWAY FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Currently, 17 states have laws that generate private school vouchers through a tax-credit mechanism and that divert up to $1 billion annually from public coffers. These policies, known as tuition tax credits (TTCs), allow taxes owed to a state by individuals or corporations to be redirected into charitable donations to voucher nonprofits that then bundle the donations and distribute tuition checks to families to use to attend private schools. When combined with a federal tax loophole that allows taxpayers to receive a federal deduction on a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, 10 of these states’ credits are so lucrative that they allow some upper-income taxpayers to turn a profit (at federal taxpayer expense) on contributions they make to fund private school vouchers. Simply put, wealthy taxpayers are benefiting from a federally sanctioned voucher tax shelter. The states with these loopholes are: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.