Political gridlock got you down? Here’s what you can do about it

If you’re frustrated by the lack of bipartisanship and constant gridlock in Washington, D.C., you’re not alone. But don’t wait until the 2018 elections to make a difference for kids in your community! In 2017, some of the biggest victories SCAN had for kids were because of everyday Americans like you speaking up at the local and state level.

Kids can’t wait and neither should you. Here are three ways you can be a voice for kids right now:

  1. Ask your local lawmakers where they stand on early childhood education.

Even if you have spent time calling or writing your member of Congress, do you know where your state representatives stand on early childhood education? How about your school board representative? You can prioritize issues that impact kids in your community by attending a town hall or board meeting and asking elected officials about their plans to invest in kids.

Here’s a sample question you can ask:

High-quality early education is the best investment our community/state can make. A 2016 report from Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman shows the rate of return on investments in early childhood development for many kids can be 13% per child, per year due to improved outcomes in education, health, reduced crime and economic potential. What do you think our community/state should do to invest in high-quality early education and help grow our economy?

  1. Vote in your local election.

November 7 is Election Day! You get a chance to vote for ballot initiatives and state and local offices that will make decisions for both funding and policy that impacts education in your community. State and local school board elections are especially vital as they control the majority of public dollars spent on education in the United States.

Unfortunately, a 2015 study found that very few people come out to vote in local school board elections—only 20% of Americans. In some cases, less than 5% of voters cast ballots for school board members. Your vote could be the one that decides an election!

Nonpartisan websites such as TurboVote make it easy to ensure that you are registered. They can help you find your ballot information too. You can also set calendar reminders for upcoming elections. Pretty easy, right?!

  1. Raise awareness about the importance of investing in kids.

Research proves that investing in the early years of a child’s life helps break the cycle of poverty, addresses inequality and boosts productivity by giving kids a strong start. You can help raise the profile of these issues by educating others in your community.

By sharing SCAN’s Facebook posts, tweets and online actions to contact lawmakers, you can put children’s issues on the agenda for your community and amplify your voice.


Take action today and become an advocate for kids!

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Ed Stierli is the State Director of Mobilization at SCAN. He has more than 10 years of grassroots organizing experience in support of education and environmental campaigns. Ed has a B.S. in History and Political Science from Florida State University and a Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and son.