To build a bi-partisan, volunteer-led, grassroots and grass-tops team throughout Texas in order to pass and defend Universal Educational Choice legislation.
The distinctives of the new non-profit grassroots organization will be to:
- Promote Universal Educational Choice Legislation that meets the educational choice need of all Texas families.
- Focus on building broad grassroots and “grass-tops” support in all areas of Texas.
- Be a truly bi-partisan team, which will expend significant effort in both Democratic and Republican areas.
- Be a predominantly volunteer team. The board, CEO, officers, and grassroots organizers will all be volunteers.
- Build a team of supportive relationships.
1. Universal Educational Choice Legislation
Universal Educational Choice is the true goal of all who want the best for the families of Texas. Only universal educational choice will:
• Result in the largest competitive free market that will provide the most alternatives for all the families of Texas.
• Be able to build political support in all areas of Texas in order to maximize the team’s political and financial power.
2. Grassroots and Grass-tops Focus
The opponents to educational choice are formidable. The teacher’s unions have two powerful political assets. They have:
• Money. Significant funds are collected from the great majority of the public school teachers, who are members of a union.
• A statewide grassroots network. The major employer in every rural county is the public school system. Even in urban counties there are many employees organized by ISD and individual school.
In order to combat this powerful political foe, an effective educational choice team must build the same two assets.
• Money. The new team must be funded by broad grass-tops support for visionary business leaders in all areas of the state
• A statewide grassroots network. The new team must build a broad grassroots support network among parents, private schools, churches, and other civic organizations.
3. Non-partisan Team
In the past, the educational choice organizations in Texas have been very partisan. Virtually all the support has come from legislators and donors that are Republican. All legislative votes regarding educational choice have closely followed party lines, although the movement has started to loose many Republican votes in addition to all Democratic votes.
Since educational choice is a fundamental change in how education is funded, it can never pass with the additional baggage of being a partisan issue. The movement must take ground within the teacher union stronghold, the Democratic Party.
4. Volunteer Team
The Texas educational choice movement has been handicapped by some salaried “tares”, which has choked out the volunteer “wheat”. The only way to avoid this is by having leadership positions reserved exclusively for volunteers. If leaders do not care enough about school choice to volunteer their time, then they should not be in a position of leadership. Most funds will be used to provide resources necessary for grassroots and grass-tops team building.
5. Team of Supportive Relationships
Grassroots and Grass-tops organizing is very much like team building. Whether it is a sports team or a business development team, the relational nature of team building is basically the same. The leaders invite, encourage, equip, and empower team members to make them individually more effective for the ultimate goal of passing and defending universal educational choice legislation. The team corporately becomes powerful through the communication and mutual support of effective team members.