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Thursday, March 31, 2005

"VIRTUAL RALLY" TO OPPOSE PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS

CALL THE CAPITOL MONDAY & TUESDAY! LULAC is part of this Coalition. Consider attending this meeting. It'll be the spectacle of the session—at least in the area of education. Consider testifying as well. And if not testifying, at least signing a card stating your (or your organization's) position on school vouchers. -Angela

The Coalition for Public Schools is having a "virtual rally" in opposition to private school vouchers on Monday and Tuesday, April 4 & 5. We need thousands of public school supporters to participate by making phone calls to the Capitol in opposition to the three private school voucher bills—H.B. 12, H.B. 1263, and H.B. 3042. It's easy, quick, and your calls will make a big difference! Timing is important, because there will be a public hearing on the three bills Tuesday, and one or more of the bills could be passed out of committee Tuesday night.

1. Call your state representative's office, and you will typically talk with an assistant. Tell him or her you are a constituent who is calling to urge the representative to oppose any private school voucher bill or floor amendment. Then give any reasons why you passionately oppose vouchers! (Of course the best reason is that we can't afford to take money away from neighborhood public schools to fund private school tuition.) The legislative assistant will listen politely and record your name and your opposition to vouchers on a tally of incoming calls. To find out who represents you in the Texas House of Representatives and the phone number, go to this site: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm

2. Call members of the Texas House Committee on Public Education and urge them to oppose the voucher bills when they come before the committee Tuesday. Committee members' names and phone numbers are:

Chairman Kent Grusendorf (R-Arlington): 512-463-0624
Vice Chairman Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville): 512-463-0640
Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas): 512-463-0367
Rep. Diane Delisi (R-Temple): 512-463-0630
Rep. Harold Dutton, Jr. (D-Houston): 512-463-0510
Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands): 512-463-0797
Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston): 512-463-0492
Rep. Bill Keffer (R-Dallas): 512-463-0244
Rep. Anna Mowery (R-Fort Worth): 512-463-0608

If you live in one of the school districts that would be included in a voucher program proposed under H.B. 12 or H.B. 1263, be sure to mention that your neighborhood schools would be harmed when voucher money is siphoned away! The school districts in the proposed voucher pilots are: Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, Cypress-Fairbanks, San Antonio, Northside (San Antonio), Edgewood, South San Antonio, and Masonic Home (Fort Worth).

Our anti-voucher "Virtual Rally" needs to have TONS of participation to compete with the real PRO-voucher rally that is taking place Tuesday on the south side of the Capitol. The monied special interest groups promoting vouchers are paying for chartered buses to bring to the Capitol minority parents and those whose children are already enrolled in private schools.

PUBLIC HEARING ON VOUCHERS TUESDAY

The public hearing before the House Committee on Public Education on all three voucher bills has officially been set for Tuesday, April 5 at 2 p.m. or upon adjournment of the House. The hearing is posted to be held in E2.036 in the Texas Capitol extension, but we anticipate a possible change of location to the auditorium in E1.004 (which is directly across from the cafeteria entrance in the extension). The auditorium can hold 350 people. We'll send out a subsequent email if the location changes.

1. WE NEED AT LEAST 35 PEOPLE TO TESTIFY AGAINST THE VOUCHER BILLS. Please respond to this email if you intend to testify or could recruit someone from your organization to speak out against the voucher proposals. We also need the names and contact information on people who will testify, as we are attempting to loosely coordinate the points that will be made.

2. Audience Members of Color. Help us in recruiting minority parents and grandparents who are willing to attend the hearing and sit in the audience for several hours wearing an anti-voucher button (they do not need to present testimony). Please respond to this email with the names, phone numbers, email addresses of persons willing to be audience members.

3. Seat Holders. We need 25+ people in Austin who could stand for an hour at the locked door of the auditorium where the voucher hearing will be held so they can be the first in the door to grab seats. The seat holders would then give up their seats to persons scheduled to testify as they arrive. (NOTE: This is an ideal role for staff assistants or student interns at association headquarters who would like to come to the Capitol for a short while to help out the cause, but then they could return to their offices after giving up their seats) Please respond to this email with the names, phone numbers, email addresses of persons willing to be seat holders.

4. Interested Audience Members Wearing Buttons. We also need people who want to sit in the audience and wear "STOP VOUCHERS" buttons. Our hope is that voucher opponents can be comparable in numbers to the voucher supporters who are being bused to Austin. Please pick up a button from a friendly volunteer as you enter the auditorium (or if crowded there probably will be an overflow room).

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VOUCHER BILLS

A summary of the three voucher bills is attached to this email. H.B. 1263 is expected to be the lead bill, and it even has a promotional web site:

You could read the text of the three bills at these links:
H.B. 12

H.B. 1263

H.B. 3042

Thank you for making it a priority to speak out against vouchers and in support of our Texas public schools!

1 comment:

  1. This weekend at the LULAC "Erasing Borders" conference, i attended a teach-in about Civic Participation given by Ana Correa. She explained to the youth present the real intentions behind a group that posed as a education advocacy organization to Hispanic and Latino groups to gain their support, but how they found out later (too late) that in reality they were the group pushing for vouchers. I guess we will find out this week if this strategy worked for them.

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