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It’s Your Last Chance to Apply for Our Leadership Academy

canstockphoto9302170The deadline is quickly approaching to apply for Children’s Action Alliance’s 2017 Leadership Academy, an intensive nine-week program designed to mentor everyday Arizonans with the drive to make a difference in the community.

Our nine-week program (weekends only) begins February 3, 2017 and runs through March 12. The Leadership Academy will equip the selected participants with the skills and knowledge to work for public policy changes that help Arizona children and families. The program is free of charge, but space is limited to 15 participants. Academy workshops are held on weekends to accommodate Arizonans who live outside the Phoenix area.

The deadline is Thursday, December 15. Download the application, fill it in and submit to Julie Bacon at JBacon@azchildren.org as soon as possible to be considered.

Children’s Action Alliance is Moving to a New Location

As our state has grown, so has the advocacy work and research we do on behalf of Arizona’s children.

Our team has expanded and is busier than ever, thus, after nearly 30 years in the same location, Children’s Action Alliance is moving to a new office.

We thank you for your patience and look forward to your continued support in the years to come.

Seeking a Few Good Arizonans to Become Leaders

canstockphoto13781822We are looking for a few dedicated Arizonans who are longing to make a difference in the community, particularly on issues affecting children and families, but need a little fellowship and guidance to get started. Our Leadership Academy is currently accepting applications for the 2017 class, and is geared toward everyday Arizonans with the drive to make a change for the better.

The Academy runs for nine sessions and is free to participants who are selected. Don’t delay, the deadline is December 15.

Space is limited to only 15 people, so download the application, fill it in and submit it to Julie Bacon as soon as possible to be considered. Applications are due December 15, 2016.

This is a statewide program that holds workshops on weekends to accommodate attendees who live outside of the Phoenix area. See our Leadership Academy page and application for more details.

An overview of the nine week program is available here. 

Georgetown Study Finds Number of Uninsured Kids is Dropping

boy at doctor for webEfforts to get more kids covered by health insurance are paying off. A recent study from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families finds the number of uninsured children in Arizona has dropped as the impact of health reform has taken effect. The percentage of kids without health coverage in Arizona declined by 30% between 2013 and 2015.

Thanks to Obamacare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the national uninsured rate for children was at a record low of 4.8% in 2015.  Arizona’s rate was still much higher at 8.3%.  Community groups throughout the state are working to push that uninsured rate down as we get the word out that KidsCare is back as a low-cost option for working families.

Our handy online toolkit has posters, question and answer sheets, ready-made social media posts, photos and other items you can share to help more families connect with KidsCare.

 

 

 

Still Have a General Election Mail in Ballot?

canstockphoto20343129Do you have an early ballot you’ve not yet mailed?

Because elections offices across Arizona must have possession of all ballots by the time polls close on November 8th, today is the final recommended day to mail them in.

If you are still studying the candidates and won’t be able to send your ballot by tonight (you can view responses from legislative candidates on conditions for kids on our website and watch a debate on education issues online), you can drop it off at any early voting location this week or ANY polling site on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th.

Proposition 206: Better Wages for Arizona Working Families

canstockphoto4114828This election cycle is a dynamic one with substantive questions on the ballot, such as Proposition 206, The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Initiative. Children’s Action Alliance is proud to support this measure, which gradually increases the state’s minimum wage over the next several years. Proposition 206 would raise the current $8.05 per hour to $10 in 2017, then to $12 by 2020.

Proposition 206 also requires companies with 15 employees or more to provide five days of earned paid sick time per year, and employers with fewer than 15 employees to provide 3 days of earned sick time annually. Data shows many Arizona children and families are struggling, with more than one in four children living in poverty. Economic analysis finds the benefits from this gradual minimum wage increase will reach 477,000 children and, even taking into account the potential impact on jobs, the number of people living in poverty would drop; families would have more disposable income to spend and further fuel our economy.

Watch “Education Showdown: Four Senate Races That Will Shape Arizona”

Watch educationshowdown- (1)In a recent statewide poll, 74 percent of Arizonans said they support more investment in public education. The 90 people who serve in the Arizona Legislature make those decisions. Those elected on November 8 will be the ones who determine whether Arizona’s public schools will have the resources needed to ensure a quality teacher in every classroom, updated textbooks and technology and well-maintained school buildings.Children’s Action Alliance and twelve other organizations are pleased to sponsor Education Showdown: Four Senate Races That Will Shape Arizona. Senate candidates in legislative districts 6, 8, 18 and 28 shared their views in discussions taped Oct. 12 at the Cox Communications studios in Phoenix.

Even if you are not a voter in one of these districts, we encourage you to watch this program as it will provide you with valuable information on the issues facing Arizona’s public schools and the questions we should be asking all candidates for the Arizona legislature.

New Study Finds Investment in Public K-12 Education Continues to Drop

canstockphoto2402821Arizona is among five of the eight states with the biggest cuts to public education since 2008 that have also cut income taxes during that time period, according to an updated report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Per student state dollars, adjusted for inflation, for Arizona’s K-12 funding formula is 12.8% lower in fiscal year 2017 than in fiscal year 2008. Over the same period, Arizona personal and corporate income tax rates were cut by 12.8% between 2008 and 2017.

To learn more about how Arizona compares to other states when it comes to restoring state support for K-12 education, read the full report After Nearly a Decade, School Investments Still Way Down in Some States. 

New Report Concludes Private School Tax Credits Undermine Public Schools

canstockphoto26839508In its just-released report “State Tax Subsidies for Private K-12 Education,” the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) shows that private school tax subsidies, including Arizona’s four tax credits for private school tuition scholarships, are undermining states’ ability to maintain a high-quality public education system.

After studying the 20 states that have some type of private education tax subsidy, ITEP has concluded that the subsidies lack budgetary oversight and divert revenue needed to support public schools. The report also details how upper-income taxpayers can use the subsidies to generate a profit by claiming a deduction on their federal income taxes even when their contributions were fully reimbursed by the state tax credit.

This short video describes why you should care about the damage done from private school tax credits.

In January, CAA identified four reforms that can reduce the damage from Arizona’s private school tax credits:

  • Cap the growth in “low Income” corporate tax credits so they can’t continue to grow by 20% each year
  • Focus all scholarships on students in low income families
  • Remove the ability for donors to recommend specific students for scholarships
  • Limit administrative expenses to 5%

Learn more about these and other issues by reading ITEP’s full report. 

Thank You to Southern AZ Legislative Candidates for Joining Us on Education Issues

Tuc seminar 5We continued our series of seminars on education issues in Tucson on Friday, October 7, with a good showing from legislative candidates interested in learning about issues affecting K-12 education in Arizona.

We have a lot of work to do to improve our public schools: proper funding for materials, teacher pay and safe classrooms. We want to thank the following office-seekers for taking time out of their busy campaign schedules to participate and ask thoughtful questions about public policy in education, particularly that districts have the resources necessary to provide a safe and competitive learning environment for Arizona children: Jaime Alvarez, (Senate, LD 4); Wenona Benally (House, LD 7); David Bradley (Senate, LD 10); Todd Clodfelter (House, LD 10); Andrea Dalessandro (Senate, LD 2); Kirsten Engel (House, LD 10); Randy Friese (House, LD 9); Ana Henderson (House, LD 9); Daniel Hernandez (House, LD 2); Mike Holmes (House, LD 14); Shelley Kais (Senate; LD 2); Stephanie Mach (House, LD 10); Barbara McGuire (Senate, LD 8); Randall Phelps (Senate, LD 10); and Pamela Powers Hannley (House, LD 9).

Thanks also goes to Colleen Niccum, vice president of education policy at Southern Arizona Leadership Council for serving as a voice for the business community on education.

The forum was sponsored by AZ Schools Now, a collaboration of organizations representing parents, children, educators, the faith community and the business community.