By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Shapiro, Merrifield, Nguyen, Tripp, Riggs, McFrazier
YES on 30, NO on 32. Madeline Shapiro repeats this phrase to educate others about the upcoming election.
“At my 88-year-old mother’s birthday celebration, I told my family ‘Yes on 30, No on 32.’ At the airport, I talked to a fellow passenger who literally wrote a note to himself, ‘Yes on 30, No on 32.’ At the doctor’s office, I spoke to the doctor and his staff.”
Shapiro is among hundreds of CTA members volunteering to work on the campaign full time this fall. But you don’t need a full-time commitment to make a difference, says Shapiro, an East Whittier Education Association member and a member of CTA’s Political Involvement Committee and the CTA/ABC Committee (Association for Better Citizenship, CTA’s political action committee).
“There is so much CTA members can do, and every little bit helps,” says Shapiro. “To start, take the time to become familiar with the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act (Proposition 30) and the Special Exemptions Act (Proposition 32), which can be done at the CTA website, www.cta.org/campaign2012.”
Voters are influenced by friends, family and community groups. Lawn signs, public opinion polls, and even a conversation in the next restaurant booth affect how people cast their ballot in an election, according to a recent UC Davis study.
“People still respect and admire the teachers in their own community, despite the anti-public school propaganda in the media,” says Shapiro. “You have a powerful and valued voice within your circle of family, friends, students and their parents, and in the organizations that you belong to. Use your voice to spread the message wherever you go.”
Here are ideas from some other CTA members for spreading the message: YES on 30, NO on 32.
Andy Merrifield, California Faculty Association associate vice president for Northern California and CSU Sonoma chapter president
INDIVIDUALS: Contact your chapter leaders and ask who is working on the campaign. Or contact central labor councils in your part of the state. Volunteer to work at a phone bank or walk precincts. Write op-ed pieces to local newspapers. Write letters to the editor.
CHAPTERS: Reach out to local association members and community members with e-mail, texting and robo calls to remind people to vote, solicit help in the campaign and recommend how to vote. If locals don’t have their own phone banks, they can work with other labor groups.
THERE’S NO TIME? Your colleagues they will have less time in their lives if we are unsuccessful. Their workload might go through the roof because others will lose their jobs. Or they might have lots of time because they may be looking for a new job themselves.
Yen Nguyen, Student CTA communications chair, UC Davis
USE TECHNOLOGY: Tweet, post on Facebook, and use whatever form of social media you’re familiar with to inform, educate and inspire your members and followers to vote. Post facts about the propositions as your status updates, write on your friends' walls to see how they're voting, and share different pages and groups so that everyone you're friends with will be able to read up on the facts. If you come across blogs with anti-union sentiments, post a response!
GET OUT THE VOTE: Hold voter registration drives. It’s easy and fast. Follow up with those you register to make sure they vote. Appeal to young people: In 2010, only 45 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds who were eligible to vote registered.
SEEK OUT STUDENTS: Get Student CTA members nearby involved. Help us help you!
Jolene Tripp, Redlands Education Support Professionals Association president
WOW WITH A WEBSITE: Our website really gets the word out (www.redlandsesp.org). We took information from the CTA website and made it more specific to our classified members with links for how to get involved, talking points, quick facts, etc. It’s a great resource for RESPA members and others.
INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY: Together, we are stronger. We held a political forum and invited the mayor, school board members, the president of the local firefighters association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the local PTA, plus the whole community, to join us. We made the forum interactive, so members of the audience could text their questions to panelists. We are planning precinct walking with Redlands city employees and other stakeholders. We are sending newsletters stuffed with information. We’re an association on fire!
TELL THE TRUTH: Prop. 32 may look nice on the surface, but it’s really about corporations stopping the voice of unions and silencing the middle class. We can’t let that happen!
Patrick Riggs, Eureka Teachers Association president
SET AN EXAMPLE: Educate your friends and family members. Get five people to commit to voting “Yes on 30, No on 32.” Encourage your colleagues at work to become involved in the campaign. Volunteer to do grassroots political work in support of local efforts to pass 30 and defeat 32.
BE VOCAL: Campaign out loud and in public so fellow teachers and community members know exactly what we believe and why. Reach out to other organizations to build strong political alliances. ETA has strong relationships with our local Central Labor Council, the California Nurses Association, and our county Democratic Central Committee. We are making phone calls, writing letters, posting on Facebook, walking precincts and doing whatever it takes to win.
THE STAKES ARE HIGH: We can just about kiss due process rights, collective bargaining, grievance procedures, job security and a whole host of other hard-won rights goodbye if Prop. 32 passes. If Prop. 30 fails, additional cuts will take a big bite out of our students' educational futures. We can’t let that happen!
Hattie McFrazier, United Teachers Los Angeles, CTA/ABC Committee member
SPREAD THE WORD: Educate registered voters in churches, club meetings and other social events about important facts regarding the propositions and how they will affect them and their children’s future.
TALK TO PARENTS: Encourage parental involvement at local PTA meetings, town hall meetings and rallies. Share how our children need us now. They are our future. This can’t wait.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The choices we make today will affect us the rest of our lives. We must get involved or we will face a dim future. It is up to us. If not us, then who?
Related Tags: Volume 17 Issue 2, Action, Inside Educator, Educator, Activism, Campaign, Community, Election, ESP, Higher Education, Locals, Networking, Organize, SCTA,