Why we rally: Still red. Still for public ed.
ICPE organized its first rally at the Statehouse in 2013 – just two years after ICPE was founded. One public education friend recently told me her young daughter was in a photo from our first rally. That child is now in high school!
I was no stranger to Statehouse rallies because I had organized one in 2008 to make legislators and the public aware that the new property tax caps would have a devastating effect on school funding – particularly on urban school districts and districts with a low total assessed value. We didn’t have a coalition yet, and many issues we focus on now had not yet emerged. It was powerful to see public school advocates unite around this issue that still affects school funding today. We were the “canary” telling everyone that something unhealthy was coming to our coal mine.
ICPE is now on its seventh rally. We’ve partnered with a variety of organizations over the years, and we appreciate them all. We’ve also attended and supported rallies organized by others – such as the teacher rally in March 2019 and the gigantic Red for ED one in November 2019. Public education advocates should always support one another. It makes our collective voice stronger.
Why do we continue to rally?
1. Rallies are good for the soul. We find our friends. We speak out. We make a difference.
2. Rallies get legislators’ attention. Some disdain us; some love us. But it lets them know we are watching.
3. Rallies generate news coverage and social media postings. It helps us get the word out that certain policies are damaging to public schools – and to the future of our democracy.
4. Rallies by public school advocates balance the events sponsored by those who have a vested interest in privatization. Many of these groups are backed by big-money interests. They may have a bigger promotional budget for glitzy graphics and matching t-shirts, but we have numbers on our side: 90+ percent of Indiana’s children attend public schools.
5. Rallies get average citizens to the Statehouse. When we do it right, rally participants stick around to talk to their legislators or leave them notes. Once you know the issues and who represents you, you are more likely to send emails or call your state senator and representative to ask them to vote yes or no on a particular issue. You’re more likely to show up for a forum or cracker barrel session in your home town. You’re more likely to attend and/or testify at a hearing. Our rallies are backed up with legislative alerts to empower you with solid information and talking points for on-going communication. Hearing from voters in their district matters to legislators.
6. Advocates become informed voters regarding education issues.
7. We continue to rally because our public schools are still endangered. We see hopeful signs that we are making a difference, but there are still plenty of reasons to speak out. As long as that’s true, we will continue to rally. We are not going away. We are still red. We are still for public ed.
Join us at the Statehouse, Monday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m.
A printable rally flyer with all the details can be found HERE.