John Thompson

@drjohnthompson tweeted link to About. 2015-03-21 11:08:25 -0500
About Voices Organized In Civic Engagement (VOICE) Action Fund

About Voices Organized In Civic Engagement (VOICE) Action Fund

Take the VOICE challenge!

It is so exciting to see so many teachers and parents at the Capitol fighting for education funding this month! And it is exciting to see that there have been some significant victories after years of neglect on the part of the legislature! BUT, we could be right back next year if the same legislators – or new ones – do not feel accountable to keep the funding in our schools.

So VOICE – a coalition of congregations, non-profits, and worker associations including the OEA – has created a challenge for you. Use the TOOL we’ve created to sign up 20 people you know (parents, teachers, friends, neighbors) who will stand with you when elections related to education come up, and when important education bills are being heard at the legislature.

Keep your list. Call your 20 folks to remind them to get to the polls, or to call a legislator about a particular bill. If you want us to add your folks to our database, email us a copy of your form.  We’ll send reminders about these issues, but only if it helps. The worksheet is really just a simple organizing tool to help you build a constituency that will vote for education!

Sign Up 20 Form


Some Background About VOICE’s work in Education

In 2013, VOICE leaders started hearing stories about the impact of high-stakes testing on students and teachers. From these stories, VOICE created an education action team that researched the ins and outs of high-stakes testing, including following the money that flows almost exclusively to five major testing companies in the United States.

Working with OEA locals, PTA’s, PLAC groups, superintendents, and civic groups across Oklahoma, VOICE leaders presented their findings to over 75 groups across the state. At each PRESENTATION, we asked people to tell us their top three criteria for judging the quality of a public school, and we built our own report card. You can read about one of our presentations HERE.

In the summer of 2014, we used the report card we’d created to do an accountability session with the candidates for state superintendent of education. You can read about that through the accounts by our members HERE and HERE. The VOICE Action Fund is non-partisan, and does not support or endorse candidates or a particular party; instead, we ask people running for public office to work with us on our agenda of issues. And we tried hard to get the incumbent state superintended at the time to attend the accountability session – you can read our challenge to her right HERE.

From there, we have worked hard on funding initiatives for public school education. Last year, for example, we were part of the SOS coalition that created a counter-budget that would have funded public schools and restored funding to many state agencies that have been cut. Interestingly, big oil showed up at the Capitol to fight against us, going so far as to park their equipment on the Capitol grounds.

We are thrilled to support the efforts of teachers, support workers, and state employees this year to increase pay and restore funding for education and other needed services in our state.

VOICE is a coalition of 25 congregations, nonprofits, and schools that have come together out of a deep sense of mission and concern for the pressures faced by families in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. We want to develop the leadership skills of our own members to more effectively work within the democratic process with civic leaders and public officials on issues of concern to families.