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An Urgent Plea

Original post made by Cheryl Cook-Kallio, Jensen Tract, on Nov 20, 2010

This community has always been very supportive of the We the People (comp civix) program as well as Project Citizen. These programs could be cut if the amendment described below passes. Please take a few minutes to call and email our senators and perhaps send the message below to your email list with a brief preface. These are programs that are provided free to any school that wants them across the country. Many of us have children who have been impacted by these programs. We ALL have benefited from a community that is committed to participatory citizenship. Education is a prerequisite to democracy.

Dear Friends of Education and Democracy,

There is a movement to pass an amendment that would stop funding for (and therefore eliminate) programs that promote civic education as well as other programs that promote a sound educational foundation. As you all know education is a prerequisite for democracy and it is in our power to stop this. It is imperative that as Californians, we contact the offices of Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer and let them know that we want them to vote NO on the Coburn amendment.

Many of you know the impact the We the People has had on thousands of students in this area. This is not an earmark. It is available to every congressional district in the country. Please call and email our senators before Monday afternoon and tell them to vote NO on the Coburn amendment. If you have contacts outside the state please feel free to copy any portion of this email and ask them to do the same in their states.

This will take just a few minutes of your time. It will have a profound impact on our children.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this.

Cheryl Cook-Kallio
Government Teacher
We the People Coach
Pleasanton City Council

Senator Boxer
(202) 224-3553 Web Form:

Senator Feinstein
202) 224-3841 Web Form:

On Monday, November 22, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will introduce an amendment to ban earmarks in FY11, FY12, and FY13 for the following programs - the Center for Civic Education's We the People and other programs, Teach for America, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Close Up, Communities in Schools, VSA, National Writing Project, Project GRAD, National History Day, Reach Out and Read, Reading Is Fundamental, and New Leaders for New Schools.

Without delay, please call both your Senators' offices and ask to speak with the education appropriations staff person. Identify yourself as a constituent. Urge the Senator to vote NO on the Coburn amendment. If you can't get the person on the phone leave a voice mail message. If you can't leave a voice mail message leave the message with the receptionist. To reach your Senate offices you can call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Also, send an email to the Senator's general email address which can be found on his or her website. You can get to your Senator's website through Urge the Senator to vote NO on the Coburn amendment.

Our friends in the Senate say if there is not enough opposition to this amendment on Monday it might pass and the above programs will be eliminated. Your help is crucial. Also, please ask family, friends, and as many other supporters of the program as you can to help.

Comments (5)

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Posted by Johnny
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

It will pass and should because we are broke and have no money. It is probably a worthy cause but I suspect their are many worthy causes which someone could make a case for. The student who participate should be funded by their parents and not the taxpayers.

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Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 22, 2010 at 11:11 am

It was President Obama who proposed to eliminate the earmark for Teach for America (Web Link).
And the recent earmark growth in these programs in the last decade came under the Bush Administration (Web Link).
USAToday (Web Link) reports the Center for Civic Education misspent or failed to justify $5.9M in funds.
The full audit by the Office of Inspector General is here (Web Link)
And looks like President Obama proposed to 'slash it' (Web Link).
Cleaning up 'the swamp' Pelosi couldn't do is a good thing.

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Posted by Cheryl Cook-Kallio
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Nov 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

There seems to be some confusion. The Center for Civic Education along with a number of other programs like Teach for America and Reading is Fundamental (among others) are targets of the Coburn amendment. These programs are available to every congressional district in America are not earmarks in the traditional sense, despite the misuse of the term by the Department of Education.

The competitive part of We the People is funded by parents or by direct fundraising. School district dollars do not pay for travel or room and board costs for either Fremont or Pleasanton. This is typical throughout the country.

The CURRICULAR aspect of the We the People program is funded by tax dollars like all curricular programs for public schools, (whether it be state or federal money). The difference here is that it is available to any school including private secular and parochial schools and home schoolers. Many schools use the curriculum at the elementary, middle school and high school level and choose not to participate in competitive hearings.

The purpose of the program is to provide a foundation in constitutionalism and its application to current day. It is designed to create educated participatory citizens and is nonpartisan in its approach.

It was developed as part of the celebration of the Bicentennial and the Constitution and then the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights and has been active for over 20 years.

To think that eliminating this very effective program will save us money is short sited. What we need is generations of educated citizens who can participate in civil discourse. I have been teaching for 33 years and have never seen a program at any level that has produced so many young people across the political spectrum who understand the rights and responsibilities of what it is to be a citizen in the United States of America and then also particpate. All of the founders knew that democracy depended on education.

I invite you to see the competitive program in action. The first round of congressional hearings for Amador Valley, Foothill and Irvington High School will take place at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont on Monday November 29th beginning at 6:30 pm.

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Posted by Layed Off
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Since there are so many worthy causes that need financial assistance during these tough times, I have a suggestion. Why not ask the City Council members to donate their pay checks from the City for serving on the Council to this cause. After all, it is extra money and not their livelihoods. I am sure they would be honored to donate to such a worthy cause. What say you?

Like this comment
Posted by observation
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Hey "Layed Off",

I say cut Medicare, Social Security, and defense. Worthy programs like this should get a funding increase. We need to stop giveaways like the Medicare "prescription drug benefit". Enough is enough. Worthy government programs like "We the People" and cancer research, which make up a tiny amount of the budget get cut, but Medicare, Social Security, and defense continue to wreck the budget, and the whole economy. It needs to stop.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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