Get The Kids Out and Progress Report

The Downsize DC online lobbying system is nearly

Dear Dr. Mike;

So why hasn't this group been lobbying Congress to de-fund the $48 Billion Dept of Education? If they want to stop the interference and give back the schools to the local communities why all the side show baloney. Why aren't they going for the jugular???

Ron Getty
SF Libertarian

"Dr. Michael R. Edelstein" <dredelstein@...> wrote:

The Downsize DC online lobbying system is nearly
ready. But we haven't been standing idly by while we
wait for this system to be finished - quite the
contrary. So I've got a lot of big news to share.

There's more than one way to Downsize DC. We can do
it by repealing old programs or stopping new ones.
But we can also do it by causing the Feds to spend
less money on existing programs. And we've just
seized on what we believe is a major opportunity to
do just that!

We've formed an alliance with important elements of
the home-schooling movement to help remove vast
numbers of children from government schools. Three
things happen when parents remove their kids from
state schools. . .

* The children get a better education (just look at
   all the knowledge-competitions being won by home-
   schooled children)!

* The government spends less of your tax money on
   education, because fewer children are in the
   schools!

* The constituency of people who want to stop
   federal spending on education grows (and we can
   tap into that network to end federal involvement
   in education)!

We now have an opportunity to achieve progress in all
three of these areas. Better yet, because of the
unique approach of Downsize DC, we also have an
opportunity to make common cause with a large section
of the populace that is often opposed to us on other
issues. We no longer need to let disagreement on
some issues stop us from making progress on other
issues where agreement does exist. So the opportunity
is this. . .

* Would you like to see an organization representing
   16 million Americans pass a resolution calling on
   its members to remove their children from
   government schools?

* Would you like to see other organizations pass
   resolutions to do the same thing?

* Would you like to see these groups, as well as
   families that already home-school, unite behind a
   Congressional resolution sponsored by Downsize DC
   to end federal involvement in education?

That's what we've been working to bring about. The
tricky thing is that the organization I hinted at
above is the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the
largest Protestant denomination in America. We had to
ask ourselves, "Did we want to get involved in
something that involved a religious organization?" I
consulted several advisors - Catholic, Protestant,
non-Christian, even atheist. And I kept getting the
same answer, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

They all agreed that the only thing more insidious
than government schools, is federal involvement in
those schools, and Downsize DC needs to seize every
opportunity, and work with every potential ally, to
bring an end to federal involvement in education.

Actually, a couple of my atheist advisors were
actually the most insistent...

"Christians," they said, "are the key group we need
to mobilize if we're going to end federal involvement
in education. They're the majority. They agree with
us on this issue. So let's make common cause. This
SBC resolution is the perfect wedge issue."

One member of the Downsize DC team pointed out,

* If we were working on a gun rights issue, like
   we did at ArmedandSecure.org, we'd certainly
   target hunters with our message, even if we
   personally aren't interested in shooting deer.
* If we were fighting the insane war on drugs,
   we'd certainly want to reach Grateful Dead fans
   and local rave parties.
* In other words, you make common cause with
   people who care the most about the libertarian
   issue you're advancing.

I couldn't help but agree, so I got busy.

Our strategy was simple . . .

1. Do what we could to help the sponsors of the SBC
resolution get it passed.

2. Make sure the names of supporters of the SBC
resolution were captured so that a new effort to
pass a resolution in the future could succeed, if
this first effort fails.

3. Prepare a game-plan to have other religious
denominations and secular organizations pass "get
the kids out" resolutions.

4. Funnel supporters of "get the kids out"
resolutions to Downsize DC to lobby Congress to
end federal involvement in education.

This plan was devised to create Downsize DC progress
in three ways. . .

1. Every child removed from government schools
Downsizes DC by removing the need for money
transferred from the federal government to local
schools for that child. This is Downsizing DC on
the installment plan!

2. By working with other organizations that favor
private education we create networks that can
support our lobbying strategy.

3. "Get the kids out" resolutions provide us with a
powerful argument we can use to lobby congress to
end federal involvement in education. We can tell
Congress, "People are voting with their feet! It's
time for you politicians to get in front of this
parade! End federal involvement in education.
Return schools to full local control! Stop taxing
us for federal interference we don't want!"

And here's what we've done . . .

* I called friends on Capitol Hill to see if there
   were any prospects for a Representative to sponsor
   a Congressional resolution calling for an end to
   federal involvement in education, siting the SBC's
   consideration of a "get the kids out" resolution.
   I learned that such a Congressional resolution was
   a possibility, BUT ONLY IF WE GOT THE BALL
   ROLLING.

* I called Marshall Fritz at the Alliance for
   Separation of School and State to see if we could
   work together to support the SBC resolution. He
   was very excited, and jumped right on it.

* I traveled to Washington, DC to meet with the
   proponents of the SBC resolution, as well as other
   potential allies, to find out what was needed, and
   who could do what to help.

* I learned that nearly everything was needed. Help
   with media, a website to capture names of
   supporters. Everything. So Marshall and I and the
   rest of the Downsize DC team got to work doing
   what needed to be done.

* We helped Marshall build a website, targeted at
   evangelical Christians - especially Southern
   Baptists - in support of the resolution:
   www.GetTheKidsOut.org

* We helped the Alliance raise money to pursue this
   project.

* We learned that the SBC committee that will be
   considering the resolution would be more likely to
   look favorably on it if there was more than one
   resolution calling for the same thing. So we
   helped a Baptist Messenger submit a complimentary
   resolution.

* Marshall and I got on the phone and started
   calling our rolodexes to get other libertarian and
   school-choice organizations to spread the words
   through the Internet. By the time you're reading
   this, tens of thousands of people have heard about
   the site.

* And Marshall and I are going to attend the
   Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in
   Indianapolis this weekend to sign people up for
   future "get the kids out" efforts.

We're pulling out all the stops. That's why the next
two steps are...

* To use our online lobbying system to push for a
   Congressional resolution calling for an end to
   federal involvement in education. Such a
   resolution could then lead to legislation that
   we would support with a second wave of
   activity.
* And our odds of "getting the ball rolling" in
   Congress go up exponentially if we have the
   Congressional resolution drafted by our
   attorneys.

The key thing to all this is networking. Whenever an
opportunity occurs to Downsize DC we can serve as a
focal point to form alliances with other groups,
spread our message virally through the Internet, and
bring people to our online lobbying system to bombard
Congress.

* Every time our online lobbying system is used
   our email list will grow.
* And every time our email list grows our ability
   spread "calls to action" virally grows.
* And every time our viral network grows our
   ability to pressure Congress to Downsize DC
   will also grow.

We hope you like what we're doing.

We hope you look forward to taking the fight to
Downsize DC - getting the federal government out of
the primary and secondary education business -
straight to Capitol Hill and right into the offices
of Senators and Representatives, and even the
President.

If you like the progress we've made, I hope you're as
eager as we are to get the ball rolling and that
you'll demonstrate your resolve by making a
contribution at:
www.downsizedc.org/donate.html

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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