Talking Points

Messaging / Getting started on an email to Legislators:

These are just ideas to get things rolling. The important ingredient is the human story – how the proposed education budget impacts real people in communities across the state. It is not a statistical game.

* BUDGET – Need for investment in public schools

  • TELL YOUR STORY. What’s being cut that you care about? What is the impact of cuts on your school, your child, your family? [We each have a unique perspective. Share it! ]
  • Thank legislators for their consideration
  • Make a recommendation – request funding for programs you feel make a difference for students.
  • ‘As a parent/citizen, I volunteer in my son/daughter’s classroom. I will do my part to set high expectations and support my child and contribute time and energy to his/her school. I will also hold the School Board accountable for their funding decisions.
  • It’s up to the State Legislature to provide the financial resources to ensure my son/daughter gets a great education here in Alaska. Funding as proposed in the Governor’s budget doesn’t get the job done.
  • Share a success story. Let legislators know about the good things that are happening in classrooms across the state.
  • Provide you name, contact information and community in which you live

cc: Governor on emails sent to the Legislature – sean.parnell@alaska.gov

Caution: ONLY send emails from your home address

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* HJR1/SJR9 Constitutional Amendment – Talking Points

* Vouchers divert resources from Alaska’s public schools to support private and religious schools – and will remove upwards of $100 million per year from the public schools from Alaska Alaskan public school classrooms (based on a non-partisan study). This will drastically diminish funding for already strapped public schools.

* Public schools are the great melting pot of America, where children of all ethnicities, religious backgrounds and socioeconomic means learn to work and play together. It is a cornerstone of America’s democratic system. In an ever more diverse and globally connected world, using public funds to support schools with narrow ideologies is at best, counter productive.

* Oversight: Private schools can choose which students they accept and can dismiss students at will. There is NO state or federal oversight of private schools’ educational standards. Compare this to the multitude of federal and state benchmarks public schools must meet and the safeguards in place to protect student and parent rights.

* We already have choice within our public schools. For example, in Anchorage and Mat-Su there are a host of excellent options and choices a family can make to meet their students’ needs.

* Voucher programs in the Lower 48 have not improved graduation rates or led to better classroom performance or student success.

* There are other, better ways to bring innovation into the classroom, raise graduation rates and increase learning.

* Alaska has an enviable state constitution that clearly separates church and state. Let’s keep it that way.

* Legislators should focus time, energy and funding on improving our public schools and strategically invest in programs that work for kids. Vouchers are not the answer.

Message: I am opposed to SJR 9. Amending Alaska’s constitution to allow public funds to be used in support of private and religious schools will not improve the quality of Alaska’s schools. We need to focus our time, energy and funding on strategies that give EVERY student in Alaska access to a great education.