The next state-wide call-your-legislator day is scheduled for Monday, March 5th. Our state-wide partner, Education Voters PA, has set this date and schools here in Yinzer Nation are coordinating efforts to maximize participation and keep media attention focused on our schools. Based on very successful events the last two months, we plan to have simultaneous “sidewalk parties” across the region at school pick-up time, encouraging parents to make phone calls to their legislators in support of public education. This kind of direct communication with our legislators is absolutely critical.
What can you do to help?
- Gather 4-5 people at your school to form a “sidewalk team” (it doesn’t take many people to pull this off at a single school!)
- If your school doesn’t have a lot of activity at pick up time, consider hosting a house party with your network for the same day.
- Either way, please stay in touch so we can direct other volunteers your way and you can let us know how plans shape up at your school. We have a media team that has volunteered to send out a coordinated media alert to try to get media at some of these events, but we need to know about them!
- Use our toolkit (below) to help organize your event.
Once you have a core team of committed volunteers, consider using the following toolkit as a blueprint to help you organize:
- Write an invitation to the school community and send via backpack mail and/or email to PTO, PSCC, and any other d-lists or personal networks (see sample)
- Invite the principal and teachers: ask them to spread the word.
- Consider getting a permit from the school (good idea to maintain communication with the principal, even if you are staying on the sidewalk).
- Appoint 1-2 people to bring cookies, oranges, etc. We found this was extremely helpful, as it generated a mass of kids around the table, drawing the parents in, too (and kept kids happy while parents made their calls).
- Create a list of “talking points” on how the state budget cuts have affected your school (also see general Tips on Calling Your Legislator for ideas); photocopy.
- Create a contact sheet with legislator’s names and phone numbers for your district (click here if you need to find your legislator); photocopy. You might also consider having a parent with a smart phone who can look up legislators for people using that link.
- Have 3-4 volunteers pass out flyers the morning of March 5th, encouraging parents to make calls during the day if they are unable to participate in the afternoon. (Helps to spread the word about the sidewalk party later, too.)
- Have children make signs and banners to hang up on day of event. These have gotten a lot of press coverage! Make sure they target the state budget cuts. (“Gov. Corbett: No More Cuts to My School,” “Gov. Corbett: I Need My Science Teacher,” etc.). See the Rally for Public Education for more ideas.
- Bring: a table, signs, cookies, legislator contact sheets, talking points, and well-charged mobile phones!
The excellent group of volunteers who organized publicity for the Rally are having their arms twisted into coordinating media for this Simultaneous Sidewalk Party. The more schools that participate, the better! So please help to get something started in your neck of the woods and then stay in touch to let us know what you are planning. Sara Goodkind has volunteered to contact the student news group at Westinghouse High School to see if they might work on covering the events. Terry Kennedy has requested that principals at Allderdice and CAPA allow their voting-age students to use mobile phones and have a student-led effort to participate in the call-in day.
Last but not least, need a little inspiration? Check out Channel 11’s evening news coverage of our last Sidewalk Party for call-in day: