Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Official - We've Launched the Quality Education & Jobs Initiative Campaign!

Dear Friends:

We want to share some very exciting news! Friday, March 9, 2012 at 10 a.m., we launched the Quality Education and Jobs Campaign to strengthen our children's education and our state's economy.

We filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's Office that allows us to begin collecting signatures to place a once-in-a-generation measure on the ballot this November.

The Quality Education and Jobs Initiative will ask voters to renew the one-cent sales tax to achieve the following:

  • Protect K-12 education funding from further legislative cuts and create a dedicated source of revenue for education across the spectrum - benefiting students of all ages.
  • Help educators implement new, more rigorous Common Core standards for K-12, which come online in 2015-2016, as well as other reforms.
  • Create university and community college scholarship programs, and provide funding for university operations.
  • Reinvest in career and technical education at the high school and community college levels, as well as GED programs.
  • Create a poverty index that directs resources to school districts and charter schools to help children living in poverty succeed and to fund voluntary preschool programs.
  • Provide funding for KidsCare, a healthcare program for children living in poverty, and create Family Stability fund for state agencies and non-profits that help address hunger, homelessness, family violence and child care.
  • Create new jobs and protect public safety by protecting state funds that are directed toward DPS officers and transportation projects, and by creating a new fund to build roads, rail and transit.

Our all-volunteer team has spent the past 10 months working to make this a reality. We appreciate all of your support along the way, and look forward to working with you so we can win in November!

First, we have to collect 172,809 signatures by July 5 to get on the ballot. We have hired professional petition circulators who have already begun collecting signatures, but the more we can collect through volunteers, the more funds we'll have to spend connecting with voters through mail and advertising.

Can you help?

We will be having training sessions for volunteers who want to circulate petitions and join our speaker's bureau. If you are interested and haven't signed up already, do so by clicking here.

This is a true grassroots effort, so we also will need your donations to run the campaign. Donations can be made online here or mailed to:

530 McDowell Road, #107-290
Phoenix, AZ 85044

Be sure and note your occupation and employer on the check. There are no limits to the amount that individuals can give to an initiative effort. Corporations are also allowed to donate.

To read the ballot language and the press release, visit the campaign website at

Thank you!

Your AEN team,
Ann-Eve Pedersen
Eileen Jackson
Jen Darland
Lisa Ferko
MaryLee Moulton

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 Arizona News Service Capitol Roadshow

{Below is an email we wanted to share from Arizona Capitol Times for an event every Arizonan should plan to attend!}

Introducing the 2011 Arizona News Service
Capitol Roadshow

Join Arizona News Service, parent company of Arizona Capitol Times, as we go on the road across our state to help educate Arizonans about the legislative process. Our mission, as a non-partisan newspaper and media company, is to share information with our clients, subscribers and readers, to help them make decisions on what unfolds at the Capitol. Our team of experts, staff and lawmakers will visit Flagstaff, Tucson, Prescott and Maricopa County.

December 8
8:30 registration
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. discussions

High Country Conference Center

Northern Arizona University
201 West Butler Avenue - Flagstaff, AZ 86001


Why Capitol Roadshow?
The Arizona News Service Capitol Roadshow is the only non-partisan glance at Arizona politics. With its mission to engage more citizens in the political process, the Capitol Roadshow will tour the state and educate citizens on vital issues impacting Arizonans.

How a bill becomes a law
Understanding the process of how a bill becomes law is important to being engaged in the political process. Each step in the process is crucial to a bill surviving the legislative process and ultimately becoming a law.

Getting engaged and implementing a grassroots strategy at the Capitol (panel discussion)

Becoming engaged in what happens at the Capitol is an important first step to implementing a grassroots strategy. This panel discussion will help understand the tactics and strategies behind running a successful grassroots campaign.

Social Media – how it's changing the face of politics (panel discussion)

With the emergence of new technologies, social media has become a power player in politics. With almost 1 billion users on Facebook and Twitter, social media has changed the way people communicate, the way information is dispersed and the way people engage in the political system. It's also expected it will change the landscape of next year's state and local elections. Our panel will explore social media and give you strategies for staying current on what's transpiring and what some of the hottest trends will be in 2012.

Media Panel – What's happening at the Capitol, what to expect, redistricting and much more
With an upcoming Legislative Session and Arizona in the midst of redistricting and 2012 elections, this will be a very important time for Arizona's political climate. This media panel will discuss what to expect and how these changes will impact Arizonans.

Q&A with Local Politicians

Free to attend!
Plus all attendees receive a complimentary
Citizen Government Guide, a $19.95 value.

To register visit
For more information call 602-889-7129 or email

Sponsored by:
Northern Arizona University

Follow us on Facebook - Capitol Roadshow
or Twitter - @CapitolRoadshow

Click here to opt out of future e-mailings.
Arizona Capitol Times
(602) 258-7026
1835 W. Adams St.,
Phoenix, AZ

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Teacher Town Hall Kicks of NBC's Second Annual Education Nation

A Teacher Town Hall kicked off NBC's second annual Education Nation event on Sunday, September 25, 2011. The major news network began this initiative in 2010 as a means to "engage the country in a solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America."

Below are two clips from today's Teacher Town Hall, hosted by NBC's Brian Williams.
Part One of Education Nation's Teacher Town Hall:

Part Two of Education Nation's Teacher Town Hall:

To find out upcoming topics for this week's summit or to watch the Live Webcast of the 2011 Education Nation event, click here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Americans for Tax Reform "Bemoans the existence of public schools"

Most people would agree that universal public education is the cornerstone of American success as an economic power and as a beacon of democracy in the world.

Apparently, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) doesn't think much of public education.  In a recent post defending for-profit colleges, ATR took time at the end of the article to list some of the things they bemoan the existence of - specifically public schools. 

You can read the post here, but the offending passage states: "It is unfortunate that these federal spending programs exist. ATR also bemoans the existence of public schools, teachers unions, and Obamacare—but that doesn’t mean we won’t work to mitigate the negative effects of these bad policies or institutions."

As Americans strive to improve our public schools so as to ensure our students are adequately prepared to compete in a global economy, it is important to understand that there are forces like Americans for Tax Reform that would like undermine these efforts by doing away with public schools all together.

Texas School Districts Consider Tax Increases to Fill State Cuts To Education

The New York Times has an interesting article titled School Districts Look at Increase in Tax Rates out today (6/12/11), which discusses tax options faced by Texas school districts in the wake of state funding cuts to education.

In the recent legislative session, Texas cut $4 billion from the education budget.  According to the article,
The local part of public education financing in Texas comes from property taxes: maintenance-and-operations rates set by school boards and, if applicable, a facilities bond interest rate.  In 2006, as part of an overhaul of the state’s school finance system, the Legislature voted to reduce property tax rates by a third, setting the majority of districts’ maintenance-and-operations rates at $1 per $100 of property value, with a cap of $1.17. Any district that wants to levy a tax rate higher than $1.04 must hold a “tax ratification election.” About 20 percent of districts have already reached the $1.17 limit...
While Arizona is "an equalized funding state", school districts still vote individually for maintenance and operation overrides, capital overrides and bonds.  It is interesting to see how other states handle these issues when Arizonans are discussing the funding of our public education system.  Issues such as local commitment to education funding and equal funding statewide are topics of discussion in the wake of substantial cuts to education in the two most recent sessions of the Arizona Legislature.

To read the rest of the New York Times article, click here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Children's Action Alliance Needs Your Help!


Children’s Action Alliance, an Arizona non-partisan and non-profit child advocacy group, needs your help in the West Valley to let people know how their legislators voted on bills affecting their children, families and local community.

Please join us on Saturday, May 14, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to noon at Falcon Park at 5050 West Indian School Road in Goodyear (east of the Loop 303).

Volunteers will distribute voter education materials door-to-door in nearby neighborhoods.
No experience necessary- just join in the fun!

Volunteers are welcome to participate in an optional training session on Wednesday, May 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at UFCW Local 99, 2401 North Central Avenue in Phoenix.

Contact Amy Kobeta at (602) 266-0707 x202
or to RSVP or with questions.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

AEN Joins Panel Discussion on Education Cuts on Arizona PBS 8 Horizons with Ted Simons

Arizona Horizon's host Ted Simons discusses the impact of budget cuts and other legislation on public education with Senator Rich Crandall, Chair of the Senate Education Committee; Ann-Eve Pedersen, president of the Arizona Education Network; and Chuck Essigs of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials.

How did YOUR legislator vote? Find the 2011 Legislative Session: Education Funding Voting Record by Legislator here.

Join the Campaign for Education 2012 here.