Pleasanton City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a teacher at Irvington High School in Fremont who coaches the school's "We the People" advanced civic teams, is again urging the public to call or write their federal legislators to make sure that the program has continued funding.
Cook-Kallio teaches advanced placement U.S. History and AP U.S. Government classes at Irvington High.
"We have learned that Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) is circulating a letter to members of the House of Representatives with support from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) to urge appropriators to exclude authorized, national programs from the definition of an "earmark," Cook-Kallio posted on her Facebook account. "This exclusion would apply to the We the People Programs, which are fully authorized in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and serve every state and congressional district."
"Without delay, please call the education aide of your member of Congress to urge that they sign the letter being circulated by Rep. Young as soon as possible," she continued. "The anticipated deadline is Wednesday. Please convey that their support is critical to ensure the continuation of the We the People programs and other worthy national education programs that have been authorized in federal legislation and affect millions of students and teachers."
Cook-Kallio said that the We the People program produces good citizens overall.
In a 2010 study conducted for the Center for Civic Education, which collects data on We the People, finalists were far and away more knowledgeable about the country's democratic principles and institutions compared to their peers, she said.
We the People national finalists also were:
* More likely to register to vote, write to a public official, investigate compelling political issues, participate in lawful demonstrations, and boycott certain products or stores.
* More likely to agree that keeping up with political affairs, influencing the political structure, developing a meaningful philosophy of life, becoming a community leader, and helping others in need are of strong to absolute importance.
* More likely to agree that people should be able to express unpopular opinions and that newspapers should be able to publish freely, without government interaction.
"Despite our best efforts in November, the House of Representatives has voted to eliminate the Education for Democracy Act, which funds the We the People Program as part of the Center for Civic Ed, as well as many other programs, such as Teach for America and elementary literacy programs," Cook-Kallio said. "These programs benefit every congressional district in America. As of right now, all the funding for We the People will end as of September of this year."
"Cutting this program is detrimental to our students," she added. "Many schools use this curriculum and do not compete. We need educated citizens. Cutting all of these programs will not save the government a significant amount of money, about $45 million. Consider what an hour in Iraq costs. Our kids are worth this."