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Education Advocates Unite for AZ Schools Now Town Hall

Unite for change and join AZ Schools Now for a town hall meeting on K-12 education. With K-12 initiatives at the top of the legislative agenda, now is the time to be part of the discussion about important education measures being considered at the Capitol.

When: Thursday, February 16, 2017
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Central High School Auditorium
4525 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
Click the photo below to RSVP. canstockphoto15080176

You’re Invited: Early Childhood Legislative Day

az-leg-emailer-logoCome join the fun at the State Capitol! Early childhood champions are gathering to raise awareness of the importance of the early years at Early Childhood Legislative Day.

Network with friends and legislators, as we show how early childhood development and health contribute to healthy children, third grade literacy, enhanced economic development and strong communities! Thanks to the sponsorship of the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA).

When: February 13, 2017
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Arizona State Capitol House Lawn
1700 W. Washington St. Phoenix, 85007

This is a vital opportunity to show policymakers how early childhood links to their priorities and the impact early childhood investments have made in communities all across our beautiful state. If you like, you can also visit with your legislators and view a House or Senate committee in action.

When you get there, be sure to stop by the information desk on the House lawn for a schedule of events and information you can share with legislators and staff.

RSVP here with your name, address, organization and whether you would be interested in meeting with a policymaker from your district.

Tell Your Representatives It’s Time to Raise Teacher Pay

canstockphoto6540482Governor Ducey recently made his budget recommendations for next year, which included limited spending on 15 different education initiatives.

While we are encouraged the Governor has named public education as his top priority, a sprinkle of money in a whole bunch of buckets won’t move the needle on any of our education goals. And an average teacher raise of $185 next year won’t even begin to address our teacher shortage crisis.

That’s why Children’s Action Alliance is proud to be part of AZ Schools Now—a coalition of dedicated teachers, parents, school board members, faith-based volunteers, advocates and education leaders. Together we are asking the Governor and legislature to put all additional funds into one priority this year: teacher raises.

For next year, we’ve identified a way to raise teacher salaries a full 4-percent without changing the existing budget structure. But this one step is not enough.

We must find ways to increase our revenue sources and end the trend of short-term planning and funding crises.
Please join our campaign. Click here to email your state senator and representatives with this message.

You can find a copy of the letter AZ Schools Now sent to Governor Ducey here.

What is in Governor Ducey’s Budget for Education and Families?

Comparing what Governor Ducey proposed in his State of the State to his budget released this month, we’ve analyzed the proposals and put the important issues into a one page infographic. You’ll see that his BIG goals do not match up with the small investments.

What's in State Budget Standard Paper size v. 7

What’s on the Horizon for Public School Funding?

Gov. Ducey's staff greets Arizona Education Foundation Teachers of the Year for 2017, Michele Doherty, and 2016, Christine Marsh.

Gov. Ducey’s staff greets Arizona Education Foundation Teachers of the Year for 2017, Michele Doherty, and 2016, Christine Marsh.

Governor Ducey announced with great enthusiasm a 15-point plan to strengthen public education with a focus on addressing the teacher shortage crisis and closing the achievement gap for students growing up in families with few economic resources. Children’s Action Alliance welcomes a focus on these big goals for Arizona. Parents, community leaders and business CEOs agree that supporting excellent teachers and student success are keys to Arizona’s economic future.

Governor Ducey’s budget proposal, however, does not live up to his big ideas. His proposal invests only $95 million in new funds over these 15 public education initiatives. And his budget also includes $52 million in cuts to district and charter public schools – budget cuts that were previously enacted and are still phasing in.

As a result, the net increase to public education is only $38.33 per student. That includes a teacher raise of only $185 in the whole first year. It would be hard to imagine any business CEO expecting a meaningful change in the workforce with such a small salary increase. All together, the very small steps Governor Ducey proposes toward very large goals will not be able to move the needle on educational progress.

Arizonans expect more. The Governor can’t continue to promise annual tax cuts, growing tax credits, and a world class public education for all. We call on the Governor and our state legislature to make teacher salaries the top priority this year over tax cuts, tax credits, and other investments. And to live up to all of our other shared goals in education, we ask our lawmakers to begin a formal conversation about how we will renew and update Proposition 301 – the special sales tax dedicated to public education that expires in four years.

We’re proud to be part of an education coalition, AZ Schools Now, that brings Arizonans together to fight for the sustainable resources we need for real progress in education. See our statement here.

Keep Up the Momentum: NO ACA Repeal Without Immediate Replacement

Congress is moving fast on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), even though they have yet to introduce a viable replacement plan that doesn’t threaten health coverage for more than 30 million Americans.

While in the dark of last night the Senate voted to repeal the ACA, the vote was preliminary and procedural in nature and DOES NOT dismantle the health care law. The debate will continue into February.

Our combined efforts to reach Congress are working: There is a buzz on Capitol Hill that Americans are speaking up loud and clear that they want a realistic and immediate replacement plan if lawmakers do repeal the ACA. We are filling the voicemail boxes of Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake here in Arizona and in Washington, and sending emails and letters to ensure they get the message.

Let’s keep up the momentum and continue to say it loud and clear: NO ACA repeal without immediate replacement.

CONTACT NUMBERS

Senator John McCain:

Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2235
Phoenix Office (602) 952-2410
Prescott Office (928) 445-0833
Tucson Office (520) 670-6334

Senator Jeff Flake:

Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4521
Phoenix Office (602) 840-1891
Tucson Office (520) 575-8633

What is “TANF”?

canstockphoto2914384Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, known as TANF, is a vital safety net program for families who need a little help between jobs. In fact, data shows parents who receive TANF only need it for a limited time, and stop getting benefits because they have found a job, not because they run out. Here’s a snapshot of TANF in Arizona.

 

Our Public Policy Priorities for 2017

canstockphoto14049380 (1)Children’s Action Alliance invites you to join us as we stand up for policies and practices that create a brighter future for our children and a vibrant economy for Arizona. Each year, the Governor and state legislature must enact a balanced budget that meets voter priorities for health, education, and security. Many factors go into what influences our state budget, as well as actions lawmakers take during the session, however, it is important for lawmakers to keep these priorities intact:

  • Sustain investments in the safety net and health and education that prevent crisis and save on long-term costs and liabilities.
  • Support a fair, sufficient and sustainable tax base that promotes educational success.

We have compiled our annual list of policy priorities for the 2017 session, which is available here. Please feel free to share it and check back with us as we monitor progress on legislative activity.

Arizona Center for Economic Progress Begins Statewide Collaboration, Work

Arizona Center for Economic Progress P logo 3(Phoenix, AZ) – More than 75 community leaders gathered in central Phoenix January 4th, 2017 to launch the Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

This new venture brings together a diverse coalition of community leaders from across the state to collaborate on public policies and solutions to nurture good jobs and build strong communities. The Center will be headed by David Lujan, an attorney with a long career in public policy, as a prosecutor, state lawmaker and principal at a Phoenix-area charter school.

The Center has an aggressive agenda: to go beyond labels to get to the real foundations for economic growth.

“There are many knowledgeable minds here who know what can work to build a stronger Arizona; we want to put those together to come up with the right recipe to grow our state’s economy, with a solid education system, a well-educated workforce and up-to-date infrastructure that works for business,” said Lujan.

The launch event included a discussion among Arizona economists about the ups and downs of the economy and how the nation has been shaped by the slow growth after the most recent recession. Additionally, Annie McKay with Kansas Action for Children and Duane Goossen with the Kansas Center for Economic Growth presented real-case data on how the state of Kansas has struggled economically in the wake of drastic tax cuts, in which lawmakers promised voters economic growth in exchange for a phase out of the income tax. As a result, Kansas is facing anemic job growth, historic budget deficits, cuts to public education and other state priorities, as well as a stalled economy.

“We have the power to engage our policymakers in becoming true champions for Arizona’s taxpayers,” said Lujan.

The Center has released three policy briefs as part of its launch:

• What Arizona Can Learn from Kansas Tax Cuts
• The Federal Budget and Its Impact on Arizona’s Economy
• Q & A About Arizona’s State Budget and Taxes

The Arizona Center for Economic Progress will continue its work as a project of Arizona-based public policy group, Children’s Action Alliance. The Center’s publications can be found online.

 

Urgent: Tell Senators Flake and McCain to Vote NO on Repeal of ACA Without a Replacement in Place

Congress is beginning the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) today, which could threaten health coverage for more than 700,000 Arizonans and cause great damage to our state’s economy.

We need your voice to speak up loud and clear for Arizona families to tell Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake to vote NO on an ACA repeal without an immediate replacement plan.

Our own state healthcare leaders say that a repeal could take billions of dollars out of Arizona’s economy, throw our health care sector into chaos, threaten rural hospitals, wipe out jobs and leave small businesses at risk.

Repeal could mean children, seniors and people with disabilities have to stop critical treatments such as life-saving cancer care, prescription medications, and therapies.

Here’s what you can do to help:

Call Senators McCain and Flake TODAY and urge them to vote NO on ACA Repeal without a replacement plan attached that protects our health care.

Senator Jeff Flake – (602)-840-1891

Senator John McCain – (602) 952-2410

Feel free to use the sample script below:

I’m calling to ask Senator McCain/Flake to vote NO on any repeal of the ACA without an immediate replacement. Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans could lose health care, and the Arizona economy could lose billions of dollars.

We’re counting on our Arizona Senators to stand up against the usual Washington tactics of a vote without a real plan.

Thank you.