Philly Youth VOTE 2020! - What would happen if 8,000 Philly teens showed up?

"Registering to vote is extreme, urgent, ultimate, high-stakes - It is grown-ass learning." -Lorene Cary, writer/teacher, Safe Kids Stories, Vote That Jawn! to the Philadelphia Board of Education May 30, 2019

On November 5th, we cast ballots for Mayor, City Council, Judges, and other offices that have a huge impact on our students' lives. And with the all-important PA primaries on April 28th, we're organizing with teachers, students, and non-partisan community groups in almost every high school to make sure every eligible senior registers to vote AND shows up to the polls.

This grassroots campaign has taken off and we saw a 157% increase in voter turnout by 18-year-olds in Philly! Now we're asking for support from the top as well. Please sign our Letter to the Philadelphia Board of Education for a Student Voter Education and Engagement Policy. We'll present the letter to the board at their September 19th Action Meeting. Sign up to speak here, or just come to support a district voter policy!

We've been testifying at board meetings since April with positive results. The Office of Curriculum and Instruction, Committee of Seventy, and Philly Youth Vote organized a professional development that brought together 53 teachers, 33 schools, and 17 organizations at the end of August to plan their schools' voter registration and GOTV drives. See the extensive resource folder for all the materials that we shared.

The Board also passed a resolution to recognize National Voter Registration Day on September 24th. Register your school as a partner to receive posters, stickers, information, and access to voter registration webinars. Work with the organizations listed below to plan activities for that day. The fall registration deadline isn't far away!

So for your classroom, here's the 2019-2020 lesson plan:

NOW - Early September: SIGN UP HERE to spearhead the registration and get-out-the-vote drive at your high school!

We'll send you suggestions and voter registration forms to GET EVERY SENIOR TO VOTE!

We'll also connect you with organizations to facilitate a student leader training with voting pledge cards, stickers, get-out-the-vote (GOTV) mobilizing, and the opportunity for your school to win the Governor's Award for Civic Engagement (Silver for schools that register over 65%, and Gold for over 85% of eligible seniors). Register here.

Connect with Philly Youth VOTE! on social media to share your students' successes and get the latest happenings:

September 3rd - 13th: Register High School Seniors to Vote!

Image result for vote that jawnRecruit a team of student leaders. Inspire them with the Vote That Jawn! Philly-centric videos and social media campaigns. They are planning activities and campaigns for teens throughout the school year. 

Download a student spreadsheet from SchoolNet and sort your students by birth date and the elections they are eligible to vote in. See download instructions here.

If students will be 18 by November 5th, get them to register now. You can download paper registration forms, or we can pony-mail them to your school. Sign up here with the number of forms you need for your students.

OR, they can register online, but there's an extra step: If they do not have a driver's license or state ID, they must take a photo of their signature and upload it. 

If students don't have a driver's license they can use the last 4 digits of their Social Security Number.

IMPORTANT: Ask your student team to collect the cell phone numbers of students that register. This will be critical for student-led GOTV text messages on Election Day. Use these Voter Pledge Cards for students to sign and record contact info. Studies have shown that making a pledge and a plan for voting dramatically increases the likelihood that a voter will turn out.

Discuss the political parties that students can choose to join. A good classroom conversation starter is the I Side With quiz. Make sure students understand how their choice will affect whether they can vote in Pennsylvania's closed primary elections or not.

  • Registered Republicans and Democrats can vote for their party's candidates in the primary.
  • "No affiliation" or "Other" (minor party) registrants cannot vote for candidates in the primary, only ballot questions.

See if Parents and Families Need to Register too. Here are downloadable forms in 16 languages you can send home with students: 

Several organizations are specifically focused on working in schools with large immigrant communities: Make the Road PASEAMAAC, VietLEAD, Asian Americans United

September 16th-27th: Hand Deliver or Mail Paper Registration Forms  

Deadline Alert: Registration forms must be received by the Voter Registration Office by October 7th, so allow plenty of time to get there.

Both the City Commissioners' Office and the SDP have offered to pick up and deliver your completed forms: Call the City Commissioners: 215-686-3460, or email SDP Curriculum Specialist Yaasiyn Muhammad

Forms can be hand delivered from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday:

The Philadelphia Voter Registration Office, 520 N. Columbus Blvd, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19123

The Philadelphia County Board of Elections, Room 142 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107

However you deliver your forms, be sure to keep a record! It takes about 2 weeks for the City Commissioners office to process the forms. Have students confirm their voter application status to make sure their registration is complete and correct.

October: Research the ballot and candidates with your students.

Start with these nonpartisan resources:

Then research media coverage and endorsements from a range of organizations. 

October 28th - November 4th: Have Students Find Their Polling Places and make a plan to vote.

      Making a plan in advance, knowing when, and how to get to your polling place increases turnout by a whopping 30%!

If a student knows they cannot make it to their polling place, they must apply for an absentee ballot before Election Day. This is especially important for students that go away to college in the fall, but beware of the deadlines

November 5th: Election Day - Get Out The Vote!

Remind students to get to the polls and to go as a family! One proven way to improve voter turnout is to send students a text message on election day. 

First-time voters must show a photo or non-photo ID at the polling place. Acceptable forms of ID.

November 6th - Look at the election returns with your students!

I bet we made a difference!

November - April 28, 2020 - Repeat for the Primaries!!!

April 29 - June - ...and onward to the 2020 Presidential Election!

Many of your juniors will be eligible to register. Check with your college-bound students if they plan to re-register at school, or apply for an absentee ballot. 

Organizations helping with non-partisan civic engagement curricula and voter registration in schools:

Asian Americans United - Working in schools to register and GOTV, as well as help with citizenship applications. Contact Sophie Song.

Committee of Seventy / Draw the Lines PA / First Vote PA provides lesson materials and is a wealthy source of local election information. Their website is indispensable. See the Draw the Lines Teacher Toolkit. Contact Lauren Cristella.

Inspire PA / PA Student Power Network - Rising from the ashes of Inspire US, Inspire PA is ready to work in schools to register, GOTV, and help schools win the Governor's Award. Contact Andaya Sugayan or James Cersonsky.

Just Act, Go Vote: A People's Jam on Justice - Bring interactive forum theater to your school and have students use theater to challenge people and encourage people to vote. Contact Lisa Jo Epstein.

The League or Women Voters of Philadelphia is training volunteers and getting clearances to help with voter registration and GOTV in Schools. See their High School Voter Registration Training Manual. Contact Bev Keith.

Make the Road PA - Organizing the working class in Latino communities, building power for Justice. Voter registration and GOTV in schools. Contact Katia Perez or Ivan García.

National Voter Registration Day - Register your school as a partner to receive posters, stickers, information, and access to voter registration webinars.

Netter Center / Civic Youth Action Partnership - A new Penn student initiative working with middle school youth on civic engagement. Contact Cory Bowman.

NextGen Pennsylvania - Organizing town halls with elected officials in schools. Contact Precious Samuel.

PA Department of State is offering schools and students the opportunity to win the Governor's Civic Engagement Award.

Penn Leads the Vote / Ballot Z - Penn students working in West Philadelphia schools with civic engagement curriculum and to register and GOTV. Contact Jay Falk.

Philadelphia City Commissioners Lisa Deeley and Al Schmidt will both come to schools with voting booths for nonpartisan assemblies about elections and voting. They'll even run your student council elections! Call and ask them to pick up your registration forms. 215-686-3460

Rock the Vote! - Sign up for their Democracy Class curriculum.

SDP Office of Curriculum & Instruction - Offers civics curricula, professional development, resources for National Voter Registration Day, and pickup/delivery of voter registration forms. Contact Yaasiyn Muhammad or Grace Palladino.

SEAMAAC Hip Hip Heritage program will visit high schools does voter registration and GOTV assemblies. Contact Andy Toy.

Teaching Tolerance - Voting and Voices classroom resources.

VietLEAD - Working in schools to register and GOTV. Contact Mads Le.

Voice Your Vote / New Voices Philadelphia - Working in schools to register and GOTV. Contact Simone Caldwell and Cheikh Athj

Vote That Jawn! - A very Philly teen voter registration campaign. Watch their videos and hear the Vote That Jawn! rap! Contact Lorene Cary.

Voter Education and Participation for Youth (VEPY) - Programs for the classroom.  Contact Rosemary Chapman.

When We All VoteVoter education and registration programming, support, and resources

WHYY Youth Media Labs - Hands-on media arts training in schools and at WHYY studios. Watch Can’t Be Silenced: Philadelphia Youth Hit the PollsContact Lisa Wilk.

Youth United for Change VOTA! We train people to register voters, can do on site registrations, workshops on the importance of voting, get out the vote! calls/texts/door conversations as well as Voting 101 (where do you vote, how do the machines work, what's on the ballot, etc). Contact Kat Engleman.

Bobby Simmons, 18 - Selma to Montgomery March (1965)

Looking ahead, Philly Youth VOTE! would like to develop a web API online voter registration app in partnership with the PA Department of State. This is next-level, and would enable schools to register students to vote on computer tablets, and collect contact info to seamlessly coordinate with GOTV (get-out-the-vote) phone and text-banking software. We're seeking experienced web developers to help with this project. Do you have other ideas or resources to get the student and family vote out? Send an email to Thomas Quinn.

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Vote for a Philly Teacher on May 21st!

This past year we have witnessed thousands of teachers across the country regain their voice in the fight to save public education. Teachers have started using some of the strongest tools we have to regain power: striking, media campaigns, and of course, running for office.

Not only are teachers running for office in record numbers- they are winning. The public trusts teachers to make strong decisions that will better both our schools and our communities.

In the Democratic Primary next Tuesday May 21st, we have the chance to vote a teacher, PFT member, and education activist into Philadelphia city politics: Luigi Borda, a middle school history teacher and WE member, is running for Philly City Commissioner.

Push Button #37 on May 21st to Vote for Luigi Borda for City Commissioner!

What is the Philly City Commissioner? Commissioners make the elections happen, ensure that they are fair, and support voter turnout. Luigi Borda has spent the last ten years demonstrating a single minded determination to increase Philadelphia voter turn-out. How? Just a few of Luigi's strategies include:

  • Educate and energize students and voters of all ages, races and parts of the city to turn Philadelphia into a voting Powerhouse
  • Bombard our schools with resources to get young people to vote. He wants to visit every neighborhood block party this summer with a mobile “voting van” to teach everyone the process of how to register, understand a ballot, and vote.
  • Make sure that every local ward leader has the machines, people and energy they need to increase their own local turn-out, and he plans to hold them accountable for their numbers.

Politicians and the public must see that teachers are serious about doing whatever it takes to save public education in Philadelphia. They must see that we are a powerful voting bloc, and we will come together to put our strongest advocates into office. We hope you will join Luigi’s teacher’s campaign by doing the following four things:

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What are Philly educators doing on Election Day?

Working Educators believes in grassroots organizing to get politicians in office that will support public education. The outcome of tomorrow's election will have an enormous impact on Philadelphia's public schools, and on PFT members. Pennsylvania's future governor and state legislature will be making big decisions about our ability to organize as a union and collectively bargain. They will make decisions about school privatization and whether or not to give away precious education dollars in the form of vouchers to private schools. And most importantly, they will make decisions about school funding! 

Pennsylvania is 49th in the country for the percentage of school funding that comes from the state.  To make it even worse, the money that is being distributed is going at a LOWER rate to students of color across the state of Pennsylvania. We must vote for legislators who will increase funding for education and demand that ALL funding go through PA's fair funding formula. WE hope you will cast your vote for Senator Bob Casey, Governor Tom Wolf and Lt. Governor John Fetterman in order to ensure more equitable funding for our schools and to protect our rights to unionize. 

There are many other amazing candidates to vote for in this electoral cycle, including many new candidates that are trying to flip PA state legislative seats blue for the first time in years! The educators and parents on WE's Political Committee sat down to talk to many of them about their political beliefs concerning education, and we are happy to ask you to vote for the following candidates:

-Mike Doyle (170th Pennsylvania House District)

-Elizabeth Fiedler (184th Pennsylvania House District)

-Joe Hohenstein (177th Pennsylvania House District)

-Mary Isaacson (175th Pennsylvania House District)

-Chris Rabb (200th Pennsylvania House District)

-James Roebuck (188th Pennsylvania House District)

-Kristin Seale (168th Pennsylvania House District)

Want to see how Philly educators will be spending their time to get out the vote? Last year we encouraged PFT members and our allies to run to be committee people, the very backbone of the Philadelphia Democratic establishment. Committee people are responsible for turning out the vote, but that also means they have the power to vote for candidates that are committed to public education. And WE won big! 

Here is how some of our members are flexing their newfound political muscle:

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Why Would the GOP Attack A Philly Teacher?

Two weeks ago, the chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party made an unsubstantiated attack on Central High School History Teacher Tom Quinn.

His claim? That Tom was attempting the "liberal indoctrination" of his students.

The evidence? A grainy single photograph of a flyer that Quinn was accused of distributing. 

The district did its due diligence investigating the "incident," and now Quinn is finally free to set the record straight. In his opinion piece for the Inquirer, he sets the record straight about that supposed flyer and gets to the heart of the attack:

 

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Philly Youth Vote! Let's get every eligible high school senior to the polls!

See our updated page: Philly Youth VOTE 2020! What would happen if 8,000 Philly teens showed up?

VOTE_Philly_tag.png

Philly needs to vote! Only 16.74% of eligible city residents showed up at the polls in the last election. A strong turnout of Philly youth and families on Election Day can have a great impact on our city and the state, especially during midterm and primary elections when so few people vote. On November 6th, we will cast ballots for US Congress, Governor, PA Legislators, and other offices. Teachers need to make sure every eligible senior registers to vote AND shows up to the polls. The best civics education is one that shows students they CAN make a difference!

Here's the lesson plan:

 

NOW - Early September: SIGN UP HERE to spearhead the registration and get-out-the-vote drive at your high school!

We'll send you instructions and voter registration forms to GET EVERY SENIOR TO VOTE!

We'll also connect you with INSPIRE U.S. to facilitate a student leader training with voting pledge cards, stickers, get-out-the-vote (GOTV) mobilizing, and the opportunity for your school to win the Governor's Award for Civic Engagement (Silver for schools that register over 65%, and Gold for over 85% of eligible seniors). 

 

September 1st - 14th: Register High School Seniors to Vote!

Recruit a team of student leaders. Have them sign with the citywide youth voting campaign Vote That Jawn!

Download a student spreadsheet from SchoolNet and sort by birth date. See download instructions here.

If students will be 18 by November 6th, get them to register now. You can download paper registration forms, or we can pony-mail them to your school. Sign up here with the number of forms you need for your students.

OR, they can register online, but there's an extra step: If they do not have a driver's license or state ID, they must take a photo of their signature and upload it. 

If students don't have a driver's license they can use the last 4 digits of their Social Security Number.

IMPORTANT: Collect the cell phone numbers of students that register. This will be critical for student-led GOTV text messages on Election Day. Bring along these Voter Pledge Cards for students to sign and record contact info. Studies have shown that making a pledge and a plan for voting dramatically increases the likelihood that a voter will turn out.

Discuss the political parties that students can choose to join (or not). A good classroom conversation starter is the I Side With quiz. Make sure students understand how their choice will affect whether they can vote in Pennsylvania's closed primary elections or not.

  • Registered Republicans and Democrats can vote for their party's candidates in the primary.
  • "No affiliation" or "Other" (minor party) registrants cannot vote for candidates in the primary, only ballot questions.

See if Parents and Families Need to Register too. Here are downloadable paper forms in 12 languages you can send home with students:

 

September 15th-October 1st: Hand Deliver or Mail Paper Registration Forms  

Deadline Alert: Registration forms must be received by the Voter Registration Office by October 9th, so mail in plenty of time to get there.

Forms can be hand delivered from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday:

The Philadelphia Voter Registration Office, 520 N. Columbus Blvd, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19123

The Philadelphia County Board of Elections, Room 142 City Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19107

It takes about 2 weeks for the City Commissioners office to process registrations forms. Have students confirm their voter application status to make sure their registration is complete and correct.

 

October: Research the ballot and candidates with your students.

Start with these nonpartisan resources:

Then research media coverage and endorsements from a range of organizations. 

 

October 29th - November 5th: Have Students Find Their Polling Places.

If a student knows they cannot make it to their polling place, they must apply for an absentee ballot before Election Day. This is especially important for students that go away to college in the fall, but beware of the deadlines.

 

November 6th: Election Day - Get Out The Vote!

Remind students to get to the polls and to go as a family! One proven way to improve voter turnout is to send students a text message on election day! 

First-time voters must show a photo or non-photo ID at the polling place. Acceptable forms of ID.

 

November 7th - Look at the election returns with your students!

Did we make a difference?

 

Other contacts to help with Voter Registration in Schools:

City Commissioners Lisa Deeley and Al Schmidt will both come to schools with voting booths for nonpartisan assemblies about elections and voting. They'll even run your student council elections!

Inspire U.S.  - Working in schools to develop student-led teams to register their peers and get them to vote. Participating students and schools are eligible to win the Governor's Civic Engagement Award.

SEAMAAC Hip Hip Heritage program will visit high schools does voter registration and GOTV assemblies. Contact Andy Toy.

State Representative Chris Rabb has offered to visit schools for nonpartisan voter advocacy. He's also proposed a voting rights bill that would allow 16 & 17 year-olds to preregister! Call or text his cell: 717-512-5310

Youth United for Change VOTA! registration campaign

Vote That Jawn! - A citywide teen voter registration campaign. Form teams and register for the September 22nd 2-4pm kickoff event! Contact Lorene Cary.

Committee of Seventy Election Ambassador Corps recruits high school students to volunteer as nonpartisan poll watchers on Election Day. Students can earn community service hours and learn about the electoral process.

Just Act, Go Vote: A People's Jam on Justice - An arts event to register young people to vote: September 17, 6:30pm. Register Here.

 

Do you have other ideas or resources to get the student and family vote out? Send an email to Tom Quinn.

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Philly Educators On Your Ballot: Vote for Committee Person!

All over Philadelphia today, educators, parents, and public education supporters are on the ballot running for local committee person positions. These positions help run elections, turn out neighbors to vote, and endorse candidates- but they often go unfilled. We vote for Committee Person every four years, and this year is one of them! 

Over the last year (and more), the Caucus of Working Educators has worked alongside other organizations in the Democratize Philly Coalition to encourage and supported public education educators, parents, and supporters to run for these important local positions. 

“Educators like me are getting involved in all levels of government to ensure fair and full funding for all Philadelphia public schools, and a moratorium on budget-draining charter school expansion,” explains Dan Symonds, a teacher running in South Philadelphia. “It's our turn to make decisions about the schools we all rely on." (Philadelphia Weekly)

Is there an educator or public education supporter on your ballot? Check out out list below! (This is a growing list- check back later for updates. If we missed you, please let us know ASAP!)

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WE Endorsements for 2018 May Primaries

The Caucus of Working Educators is pleased to endorse the following candidates for election on May 15th:

JOHN FETTERMAN (Lt. Governor)

KEVIN JOHNSON (3rd Congressional District)

RICH LAZER (5th Congressional District)

MIKE O’BRIEN (175th Pennsylvania House District)

ALEX DEERING (181st Pennsylvania House District)

ELIZABETH FIEDLER (184th Pennsylvania House District)

JAMES ROEBUCK (188th Pennsylvania House District)

These candidates have shown that they are not only staunch public school advocates, but are also committed to the labor movement, full funding for our schools, and societal reforms that promote social and racial justice.

WE’s Political Committee held two open Meet-the-Candidates events where all PFT members and our allies were able to conduct interviews with potential endorsees. Candidates also submitted detailed questionnaires, which can be viewed by clicking here or the links above. Finally, the Political Committee made suggestions to the WE Caucus’ Steering Committee, who voted on those final endorsement recommendations.

The Caucus of Working Educators encourages our members and allies to help elect these candidates into office. We look forward to working with them in order to ensure our shared goals are well represented both in Washington and Harrisburg.

We need as many of our allies to help volunteer get these candidates elected through phone banking, canvassing, etc. Please reach out the current WE Political Secretary, George Bezanis, at gbezanis@gmail.com to find out how!

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Meet the Public Education Candidates this Friday!

Last Friday, Working Educators' Political Committee hosted the first of two "Meet the Candidates" Happy Hours. Primary Candidates from across the city were invited to come talk with educators and community members- and face the tough questions about how they will fight for our schools and communities. 

Do you want a chance to talk to politicians one-on-one about the needs of Philly's public schools? This Friday, April 20th you'll have another opportunity! 

All PFT Members, WE Members, and WE Supporting Members are welcome to participate in the interviews- especially if you live in the candidate's district...

Working Educators Meet-the-Candidates!

Friday, April 20th 2018 / 4-6pm

St. Stephen's Green

1701 Green St, Philadelphia PA 19130

RSVP on Facebook

Candidates RSVP'd for this Friday: Brendan Boyle, Kevin Johnson, Michael Doyle, Malcolm Kenyatta, Alex Deering, JR Rowan, Tom Wyatt, Jeff Curry, Jim Roebuck, Mike O'Brien's Chief of Staff Mary Issacson 

Candidates who attended last week's event: Michele Lawrence, Richie Lazer, Larry Arata, Nina Ahmad, Joe Hohenstein, Sean Kilkenny, Lewis Thomas, Gilberto Gonzalez, and Elizabeth Fiedler.

Want to get involved in political organizing or planning more events like this? Email contact@workingeducators.org to join WE's Political Committee. All PFT Members and WE members are welcome to join.

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WE Endorsement Process for 2018 Primaries

The Political Committee of the Caucus of Working Educators will be embarking upon its endorsement process for the upcoming May 2018 Primary Elections.

All members of the Caucus and PFT are welcome to participate in the process and sit on the interview committees, especially if they live in a candidate's respective district, in an effort to keep everything as transparent as possible.

Our two Meet-the-Candidate interview events are scheduled for April 13th and 20th (Fridays) from 4pm to 6pm at St. Stephen's Green (1701 Green St.), so please plan on attending! All are welcome!

All interested candidates should complete one of the questionnaires below (click link for survey) and RSVP for one of the dates above:

PA State Legislature

PA Lieutenant Governor

US Congress

Contact: WE Political Secretary, George Bezanis, at gbezanis@gmail.com or 267-625-0616

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Calling for Statewide Organizing!

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Are you from outside Philadelphia County?

We need you to join the statewide movement to make sure our schools have all the money they need and to keep our local schools under our own local control.

The only way we will win full funding and local control for all of our schools is when we build a coalition of advocates across the state. As Pennsylvanians, it’s the politicians in Harrisburg who decide our children’s future. When it comes to funding, high-stakes testing, graduation requirements, teacher quality, special education, arts, music, class size, career and technical education, we are all in this together.

Working Educators will do whatever it takes to create top-notch public schools statewide, and we believe that students, families, and educators deserve far more funding, support, and opportunities than are currently provided.

 

What’s the big deal about schools in Pennsylvania?

Public schools in PA are criminally underfunded and under the control of anti-student politicians. Harrisburg’s neglect of PA public schools is a national embarrassment.

Pennsylvania is ranked 49th in the country when it comes to state funding for schools. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have denied students in all counties their basic right to fully-funded schools, and allowed outside companies to come into our districts and take over our public schools. Because the state refuses to pay its fair share for public schools, homeowners in PA pay more and more in local property taxes every year.  The state wants us to be responsible for fully funding our own local schools, but then wants to take away our say in what happens in our own local school districts.  How is that fair?

 

How can we fix PA schools?

Plain and simple: the PA legislature must pass legislation that guarantees full funding and genuine local control for every district in the state.

If we move just a fraction of the taxpayer money that currently pays for corporate taxbreaks and kickbacks to the 1%, Pennsylvania schools could be fully funded, providing all students with the education they deserve. We are ready to solve the Keystone educational crisis--and to push out any politician who stands in our way. There’s no time to lose.

 

Why should I care?

Because you love your family, your neighbors, and your public schools!

Our movement for fully funded and locally-controlled schools is non-partisan and all-policy. Strong schools help build strong economies, for everyone. A system of funded public schools is the backbone of a functional democracy that works for all. And we will win this fight--if good people like you step up and join us.

 

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