PACs by usvoruganti

VIEWS: 125 PAGES: 44

									Every Math Teacher Is (or Should Be) a Mini-PAC!

What is a PAC?
• A PAC is a political action committee. • PACs are usually thought of as groups which lobby, which buy favor with people in power, and which push an agenda.

What is lobbying?
• Lobbying is any activity that attempts to influence legislation or advocates for the adoption or rejection of legislation.

Can we lobby-as an individual or as a math organization?
• As an individual, if you lobby, you may need to register with your state government. • To do this, you need to really read the rules in your state for lobbying.

Some Important Information
• Many math organizations are non-profit organizations. • Specifically each may be a tax exempt “public charity” under section 501 c(3).

Some Important Information
• As a non-profit organization, or public charity, less than 5% of annual expenditures or a cap of $1M is allowed for political advocacy.
• The cap is so that “No substantial part of the activities of the organization may consist of carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.”

Some Important Information
• A non-profit can legally be a political advocate or try to influence legislation as long as the cap is recognized.

Direct and Grassroots Lobbying
• Direct Lobbying – contacting members of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting or opposing specific legislation
• Grassroots Lobbying – urging the general public to contact members of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing specific legislation (a call to action) [limited to 25% of total lobbying expense]

Direct Lobbying Example: Sending letters to legislators on funding for math/science partnerships.
Grassroots Lobbying Examples: Directly telling members of your organization to contact legislators. * Providing legislator’s address, phone number * Providing a software system that aids members sending e-mails to legislators Note: Communications with organization members encouraging them to engage in direct lobbying are not considered grassroots. It is grassroots if your organization asks its members to urge others to act.

Political Activity Limitations The answer must be NO to the question, “Does the organization participate or intervene, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office?”
This means your organization cannot (and does not): • contribute to a candidate’s campaign • endorse (or imply endorsement of) any candidate • participate in campaign activities for or against any candidate

What is Not Lobbying
• Communication to members discussing legislation but not urging action • Making available independent, nonpartisan analysis on a legislative issue • Responding to written requests from a legislative body, committee, or subcommittee for technical advice on pending legislation • Discussion of policy issues the resolution of which would require legislation, as long as the discussion does not address the merits of specific legislative measures

Informational Activities • A non-profit organization is permitted to inform the public on matters useful to the individual and beneficial to the community. (Examples: PSSM and position statements)

• Your organization must present a full and fair exposition of pertinent facts to permit the public to form its own opinion or conclusion independently.

Should we as math teachers lobby?
My answer is that in most cases, WE CANNOT AFFORD NOT TO LOBBY FOR MATHEMATICS EDUCATION!

Why do I say this?
• Consider different levels where lobbying could occur.
– – – – – In-School Local Board State Board State Legislature National Legislature

In-School
• When are math classes scheduled? • Who is given supply budget in school? • Who is given technology budget in school? • Who controls travel money for conventions or professional development?

Is your math department on the same page?
• Can you have a one-hour inservice or planning session during the school day in any week? • How many schools in-services are for math? Do you want them?

At the school level,
• Planning is a necessity. • Decide what you want.
– A group has more power than an individual, BUT a forceful individual can make a difference. – Don’t forget that parents might be on your side. [They might not!]

At the Local Board
• • • • • • Who decides on curriculum? What is the teacher input? Who decides on tests? What is the teacher input? Who decides on staffing? What is the teacher input?

For the School Board,
• Planning is a necessity. • Decide what you want.
– A group has more power than an individual, BUT a forceful individual can make a difference. – Don’t forget that parents might be on your side. [They might not!]

At the State Board
• Who decides on number of math courses for graduation? • Who decides on state assessments? • Who writes state standards? • Who correlates state assessments and state standards?

For the State Board,
• Planning is a necessity. • Decide what you want.
– A group has more power than an individual, BUT a forceful individual can make a difference. – Don’t forget that parents might be on your side. [They might not!]

For the state legislature,
• Who controls funding for schools? • Who is setting school policy? • Who is in charge of the NCLB mandates? • Who is in charge of implementation of either state or NCLB mandates?

For the State Legislature,
• Planning is a necessity. • Decide what you want.
– A group has more power than an individual, BUT a forceful individual can make a difference. – Don’t forget that parents might be on your side. [They might not!]

For the National Legislature
• Do you want more money for the National Science Foundation for curriculum development at the pre-collegiate level? • Do you want a national mathematics literacy effort?

For the National Legislature,
• Planning is a necessity. • Decide what you want.
– A group has more power than an individual, BUT a forceful individual can make a difference. – Don’t forget that parents might be on your side. [They might not!]

Building a Political Advocacy Effort as a Teacher

How do we start?
• How many local reporters do you know? • How many teachers do you think that they know? • How many school board members do you know? • How many teachers do you think that they know?

Beginning Steps
• Get knowledgeable!
– What do your state and national organizations have printed on issues? – What is the NCTM platform for mathematics education?

NCTM Political Agenda for Mathematics Education
• • • • • • http://www.nctm.org/advocacy/platform.htm Equity Teacher Quality Research Assessment Technology

What are your issues?
• Loopholes in NCLB Testing and Teacher Quality
– State superintendents who have decreed what we are doing is fine – Tests as ―evidence‖ of teacher knowledge – Allows elementary teachers to have minimal math

Rural Issues
• Providing for less educated teachers for rural areas is not an option. • State funding issues are major here.

Extra Pay for Special Teachers
• Would you have paid your math and science teachers more than your other teachers? • Higher Education has a model.
– Merit pay for special work— sometimes in base and sometimes not

Other Issues to Investigate
• How much are states spending on testing required by NCLB? • How much are school districts spending on testing? • Compare cost of testing to cost of materials in math and reading.

Other Issues to Investigate
• What are the alternative certification routes that teachers and schools are using?
– Are certificates being bought? – Do tests measure needed knowledge of prospective teachers?
• Have you examined tests?

Other Issues to Investigate
• How many states with rural areas are using their ―ruralism‖ to avoid testing issues? • How are states with very large urban areas dealing with NCLB’s call for highly qualified teachers? • Are the NCLB requirements destroying innovations of teachers and students?

Issues to Consider
• NCLB is the law and was written to correct ills. Thus, it is good. • Where is the common sense in the implementation of NCLB? • What is the evidence that NCLB is making a positive difference?
– Math scores up – Reading scores down

Start where you have passion!

Things to do before meeting
• Practice what you want to say— you may only get 5 minutes. • Know your message—make it a single message. • Know what you want the person to do to help you.

Things to do before meeting
• Prepare a handout—one page, large type. • Get a business card to leave behind.

Make the plunge.

Things to do afterwards
• Write a thank-you note. • Don’t be embarrassed to reiterate what you want. • Do leave contact information again.

Things to do afterwards
• • • • Contact to see what has been done. Don’t be belligerent. Ask what more information is needed. Do leave contact information again.

Things to do afterward.
• Continue sending small messages until something happens. • Send a website that does math in a positive way:
– www.nctm.org/figurethis

Watch Numb3rs! CBS, Friday Night Do math and you can do anything!
Johnny W. Lott, Director Center for Teaching Excellence The University of Montana Missoula, MT 59812 jlott@mso.umt.edu


								
To top