Today is the day to call the Governor and our legislators to tell them to STOP THESE CUTS TO PUBLIC EDUCATION. Several Pittsburgh Public Schools are having “sidewalk parties” at pick-up time to encourage their communities to make calls. But if you can’t participate in one of those, please make your calls any time today at your convenience.
1. Call the Governor (717-787-2500) and your state representative and senator. Click here if you need help finding your legislators and their contact information.
2. You will be speaking to a staff member. Introduce yourself and identify yourself as a constituent. For example: “Hi this is _____, I am a constituent of Representative _____, and I am calling because I strongly support public education and I am very concerned about the impact of budget cuts on my school, and on our community.”
3. In your own words, say something like the following (pick a few points):
- Stop these drastic budget cuts! The $1 BILLION cut last year was devastating to our District and is hurting our school.
- I am concerned / outraged / distressed that our school has lost so much money (see list below of sample talking points from Colfax that you can use or adapt to your own school).
- Every kid must have an opportunity to learn and good schools make stronger communities; education is a human right.
- Education is my top priority issue as a taxpayer and voter – a responsible community with strong values educates all of our children and makes it a priority.
4. Let them know you plan to follow these issues and see what happens. For example: “I am interested in the Representative’s position on these cuts and would like to hear back about it. My email address is …. Thank you.”
5. After you call, click here to let Education Voters PA know how the call went: they are organizing today’s event and are trying to collect the number of people who participate, which is important for making our collective voice heard!
Sample Talking Points from Colfax K-8
- Colfax lost its after school and Saturday tutoring program for the most struggling students
- Our classes are growing
- We’ve lost custodians
- We’ve lost paraprofessionals (adults in classrooms)
- The District was forced to cut yet another $10,000 recently so we now have no supply or text book money
- We are losing our Parent Engagement Specialist: a key position in our school that works with the most under-served families
- We are losing our Gifted Education teachers, wiping out a proven, highly effective and efficient new program
- We are losing our instrumental teacher
- And possibly our librarian
Be really pleasant to the staff. They take a lot of calls, often from people who are upset about things (and some from people who just like to complain). Think of it as a conversation you might have at work or a meeting: keep the tone professional and courteous, make your point about the issue.
Try to sound like yourself. It is okay to prepare notes to remind yourself what you are calling to say, but try not to read something. Share your sincere personal opinion and your reasons for it, in your own words.
Keep it short: a 2-3 minute call is usually plenty to say WHAT you SUPPORT (or oppose), WHY, and to give your contact information and ask for a response.