Congress Prepared to Cut Funding to We The People Programs
Original post made by Keldon Clegg, Amador Valley High School, on Mar 13, 2011
As of this moment Congress has excluded several civic education programs run by the federal government including the CloseUp Program that takes students to Washington D.C. to explore government, Teach for America which trains young college graduates how to teach in high need areas of the country as well as the We The People: The Citizen & The Constitution competition civics program. We need community members to take action to prevent these cuts!
In 2001 I graduated from Amador Valley High School and participated in the We The People program. Today I am the coach of the Amador Valley program that is heading to nationals in under two months. For the past ten years I have seen the We The People program transform students lives and create a sense of civic community and responsibility. Elimination of the program means Pleasanton loses a legacy at BOTH its high schools! Our Community of Character will suffer a loss with a nation-wide civic education program missing from our town.
Please contact your representative IMMEDIATELY and urge them to reinstate the funding for the Education for Democracy Act (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, sections 2341-2346), which provides support to We the People and dozens of other civic education programs benefiting millions of students each year.
* Tell them about what We the People meant to you.
* Explain to them that funding for nationwide programs like We the People (and Teach for America and Close Up and...) is not an earmark. A few senators seem to get this --Web Link.
* Explain that these programs benefit millions of students, in EVERY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, and have enjoyed widespread bipartisan support for years and years.
* Plead with them to not throw the baby out with the bathwater in the current tidal wave of spending cuts sweeping Washington.
* Remind them of their prior support for civic education.
* Explain that although the amount of money it takes to fund the Education for Democracy Act programs is miniscule (<$40 million), the impact on students is immeasurable.
* Urge them to reinstate funding for the Education for Democracy Act
I know We the People changed your life. Now, it's your turn.
You can find contact numbers and addresses on a little thing called the Internet or you can call the Capitol Switchboard at (202 ) 224-3121.
And to make it real easy for you, here's a note I just sent my senators, which you are free to adopt to your needs:
Dear Senator ________"
Thank you very much for your response and ongoing support of Civic Education. Although the defeat of the Coburn Amendment in the Fall and the current Continuing Resolution has temporarily preserved funding for the Education for Democracy Act (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, sections 2341-2346) and the various civic education programs it supports (including Teach for America, Close Up, and We the People), these programs are again at risk. And I am again asking for your support and assistance.
For reasons that defy reasonable explanation, the Education for Democracy Act, which provides funding to various congressionally authorized, national educational programs is classified as an earmark and thus has again been eliminated in the GOP's most recent budget proposal. As Senator Landrieu (and eleven other Senators) noted in their March 1st letter to the Appropriations Committee, the Education for Democracy Act and the national programs it supports are fundamentally different than congressionally-directed spending items directed at a specific state, region, or congressional district. The Education for Democracy Act is not an earmark. Successful, nationwide programs benefiting millions of students like Teach for America or We the People are simply not the "earmarks" even the most strident fiscal conservatives have in mind when they pledge to cut waste.
With this in mind, I once again urge you to continue your support for civic education by working with your colleagues to ensure that any budget passed and any future "earmark reform" does not throw the baby out with the bathwater, by thoughtlessly cutting funding through the Education for Democracy Act to dozens of successful, national civic education programs, for which there has been widespread bipartisan support for decades.
The We the People program changed my life fifteen years ago. It, quite simply, made me who I am today. The civic education programs supported by the Education for Democracy Act have benefited millions of students and are simply too important to get swept up in petty politics. We need your help.
Thank you again for your ongoing support of civic education and service to our state and country. Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything I can do to assist your efforts on this important issue.