This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Ever wonder where your legislator stands on issues affecting schools and how you can influence his or her position?
Education Voters Pennsylvania is a new nonprofit doing issue advocacy with the ability to engage in electoral politics, Susan Gobreski, executive director, explained.
The group began in 2007 and is modeled after other issue advocacy groups that engage in both policy and electoral activities, such as the League of Conservation Voters, which evaluates and endorses candidates based on their stance on policies and legislation on a core issue.
Although education “touches just about everyone,” Gobreski said, it has no such grassroots political group.
For voters who care about education, “the outcomes of elections are tremendously important,” Gobreski said.
“If we want better policies, we have to make sure that policy makers are accountable for their records on these issues. They all say, ‘Yeah, I am for kids, I am for education,’ but as citizens we need to be able to sort out who is actually doing something, who votes for good policy, who is helping to reform the system, and who is really making education a real priority.”
Priority issues at the moment include pushing the state legislature to make a long-term commitment to Pennsylvania’s new education funding formula and to ensure that federal stimulus money is spent appropriately. The group is also working on college tuition relief, teacher quality, and state-level efforts to stem the dropout rate.
In 2008, the group started a political action committee, PA Ed PAC, to support pro-public education candidates and played a role in several tight races.
For information, call 215-564-2299 or visit www.educationvoterspa.org.