Because Congress is on recess until April 25, this week presents the perfect opportunity to talk to your representatives about public education.
Here is the best way to do that. Take a moment today or tomorrow to find their local office (find Senate info here and House here). Click on their names to go to their websites. Call and ask for a meeting. Or better yet, simply go to the office (preferably the main office) for a chat.
Staff will offer to “take down your concerns.” Don’t settle for that–ask to speak to your member of Congress. If they are not in the office, ask for a time they will be in so that you can return. If the staffer does not know, politely say you will wait until they find out. If you are unsuccessful, have information to leave, including a personal letter, and make an appointment to speak with their staff in charge of education issues.
What is the purpose of the visit? We have found that many of our representatives do not really understand school privatization. Or, in some cases, they believe that their constituents do not understand what they are up to, and therefore they can go along with the corporate education lobby without opposition.
That is why we have prepared our NPE toolkit, School Privatization Explained. Use it for your talking points. Bring some of the informational sheets to leave. You can download the toolkit here. It is especially important that you “school” your representative on how education tax credits are no more than vouchers in disguise. They are likely to be promoted in this budget.
For an excellent primer on the topic of disguised vouchers, read NEPC’s Kevin Welner’s piece here.
When you call or visit the office, ask when the next town hall will be. Get others to go with you and ask direct questions about privatization. Remember you are “schooling” fellow constituents even as you express your views.
There are many important competing issues right now. Make sure support for public education is on the top of every list!