This Week in Education Organizing - September 1, 2017

Welcome to the Fight-Back!

Groups across the country have been speaking out and acting up against President Trump’s proposed budget, which slashes funding for health care, education and other critical social needs.  Now, Trump and the Republicans are offering up their tax “reform” proposal, which would provide new tax cuts for the super wealthy and big corporations.  

The Long Island Progressive Coalition has been canvassing weekly, talking about both the state and federal budgets, and building their base of concerned members.  In Arizona, LUCHA has been canvassing all summer on both education and health care issues.  One America in Seattle is planning a canvass for every weekend in October, and the teachers union in Peoria, IL is planning a “Knock the Block” canvass on October 7th.  All of these canvasses are helping to build resistance to the Trump/DeVos agenda, and help build local membership at the same time!  Your organization can plan a canvass too!  Check out some tools at the AROS website, under “resources.”

AROS is now joining forces with Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) —a coalition of more than 400 groups nationwide—to fight against the Trump tax proposal. ATF has great information posted on their website about the impacts of the tax plan.  ATF is planning a series of opportunities for folks to get involved in the fight-back:  A petition drive that will launch on September 6th, a webinar for field leadership on September 12 (see below and register here), a congressional call-in day and a national Day of Action on September 19th.  AROS will be posting and forwarding these materials are they are available.

Denver City Council Stands Up to ICE

The Denver City Council on Monday voted unanimously to pass the Public Safety Enforcement Priority Act, sending it to the Mayor’s desk for signing. Padres y Jovenes Unidos was among the groups pushing for passage.  Although the ordinance doesn’t go as far as Padres, and other immigrant rights groups had hoped, the bill creates significant separation between the City of Denver and ICE, and restricts which information can be shared with immigration agents. “Today, we have found the best possible path forward and we celebrate this ordinance. Tomorrow we continue to resist,” said Corrine Rivera Fowler, of Padres y Jovenes Unidos.  Read more about the Act here.  AP Photo by Craig Ruttle.

Vouchers Coming to Chicago?

The Illinois State Legislature has been wrangling with Governor Bruce Rauner for months over funding for the state’s public schools—with Chicago’s schools in the crosshairs in particular. Rauner vetoed an education funding bill passed last May, arguing that the bill set aside too much money for Chicago’s schools. The legislature failed at an attempt to override the veto. Last week, legislators announced a new tentative plan, but refused to unveil the details until hours before the House was expected to vote on it. Why the secrecy?  Because the bill included a $75 million tax credit (voucher) program to provide public funds to private school tuition coupons. Despite an immediate outcry over the voucher program, both the House and Senate proceeded to pass the bill, and the Governor has pledged to sign it. While the new law does offer additional funding for Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Teachers Union is assailing the voucher plan, which would offer individuals and businesses a 75-cent tax credit for each dollar donated to a “scholarship” fund.  That money would then be offered up as vouchers to families to offset the cost of private school tuition.  CTU called the voucher program a “poison pill that gives tax breaks to the wealthy…and is built on the backs of Chicago public school students and their families.”  Read more about the battle in this Chicago Tribune article . 


Americans for Tax Fairness is hosting a webinar on September 12th at 7:00 eastern time.  Guest Keith Ellison and others will discuss what the President’s plan looks like, how it will impact our communities, and what we need to do to defeat it. Register for the webinar today!!

Save Our Schools in Little Rock, AR is hosting a showing of the new documentary, Backpack Full of Cash on September 7th at Philander Smith College at 6:30pm.  The film showing is part of an AROS initiative, supported by the Schott Foundation for Public Education.  Additional showings will be announced soon!

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