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2013 Year in Review

2013 Year in Review

School Year in Review - July 2013

1553FieldDayLJES_copy_copy.jpgWith the passage of Proposition 30 and the new local funding formula (LCFF), as well as the upcoming implementation of the Common Core Standards, the need for parents and students to get involved and help shape the course of public education in our state has never been greater.  While the coming year is an improvement over the last five in that most schools will not face severe cuts, California continues to be at or near the bottom in per pupil funding, with academic outcomes to match.  There is still much work to be done to improve public education in California.  Educate Our State’s engagement through rallying our communities will be key component in achieving the improvements so desperately needed.

Educate Our State has continued to play a critical role in uniting the voices of parents, students and concerned community members to influence the education conversation.  Over the last twelve months we:

  • Launched our “Yes for Education” campaign to educate voters about the two education propositions on the November ballot.  We held over 100 events statewide, utilizing 300 volunteers, including our grassroots organizing trainees from our summer Camp Educate events in Oakland and Los Angeles.  From Facebook fans to booths at farmers’ markets, Twitter parties to phone banks, we reached over five million Californians, helping to pass an initiative to stabilize education funding.

  • Delivered a letter to the Governor in December outlining our priorities for the proposed new funding formula, and stressing the importance of the parent voice in those discussions (you can read that letter here). We also launched a successful letter-writing campaign (“Show Schools the Money”), sending thousands of letters to legislators and the Governor, asking for an increase in education funding in the May Revision, using the unexpected, surplus tax income.

  • Educated leaders across the state with monthly Leaders’ Calls, featuring presentations and Q&A sessions with “grasstops” contacts from inside the halls of Sacramento, including legislators, advisors and other state leaders.

  • Used financial support from the Walter & Elise Haas Foundation to leverage social media, technology and marketing to build our base and to help develop Educate Our State Chapters to work on local, as well as statewide, issues.

  • Added 175,000 Educate Our State supporters through the online tool, Causes, and more than doubled our Facebook Likes.

  • Developed a Chapter Toolkit and established two new Chapters: one in the East Bay and one in Humboldt County.

  • Used financial support and mentors from the Full Circle Fund to expand development and help us evaluate our internal infrastructure, with the goal of moving to a paid staff model when finances allow.
  • Hosted our first – and very successful - fundraiser luncheon in San Francisco, with over 300 attendees. Delaine Eastin, former State Superintendent of Education and Tim Daly, actor and President of The Creative Coalition, were our featured speakers, and Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author, was our Mistress of Ceremonies.

  • Continued to develop a “grasstops” network of partnerships with representatives from diverse education organizations, including those that prefer the status quo and those with a reform agenda.

per_pupil_poster.jpgOur current plans include:

  • Local Control Funding Formula - This new formula will impact schools for years to come.  Without transparency and proper accountability reporting, there will be no assurances schools and students will get the support they desperately need.  Educate Our State will work with other organizations around the state to ensure there is clear transparency and proper accountability measures, and to make sure those measures are accessible to parents.  We will educate parents on how they can insure district funds are reaching students in the classroom.  Critical decisions on accessibility of information and accountability reporting will be made in January so it is important the parent voice be heard now.  

  • Long-term Education Funding - Even with the passage of Proposition 30, California still ranks at or near the bottom in per pupil spending. Educate Our State will continue a focus on long-term restoration of education funding.  Current efforts include reaching out to the legislature and education groups to discuss lowering the threshold for passage of school parcel taxes from 2/3 to 55%. Our goal is to see this ‘return to democracy vs. tyranny of the minority’ on the ballot in 2014.  We are also researching the possibility of an initiative to fund schools by bringing equity to commercial property tax assessment.  We have already begun meeting with corporations and other organizations, and did focus groups in the spring of 2013.

  • Educate Our State Fall Luncheon - We will be hosting our annual fall luncheon on October 23, 2013, in San Francisco.  For more information, please click here.

  • Camp Educate 2013 - We are hosting our third “Camp Educate” conference, November 8-10, 2013, in Los Angeles. For more information, please click here.

  • Chapter Development - Building on the success of our first two Educate Our State chapters in Northern California, we plan to establish additional chapters and affiliates, with a focus on Southern California. If you are interested in finding out more about chapter development, please click here.

Educate our State has been able to accomplish much in a few short years thanks to you and tens of thousands of supporters throughout California.  Your continued support and engagement are key to the future of public education in California.  There are many ways to get more involved.

We are excited for the year ahead and looking forward to working with you!