HV FBLA and Advocacy
FBLA on the Block
It is the sign of the times. Budget cuts followed by budget cuts, and FBLA is feeling the pain as well. The federal Government currently has the entire Perkins budget on the chopping block which will take away federal funding many vocational education programs and student leadership organizations. In addition, the Oregon legislature is poised to cut a huge chunk of the budget for the Oregon Career and Technical Student Organizations Center (formerly the Student Leadership Development Center).
Why Keep FBLA?
Both of the government cost cutting measures will directly impact the ability of vocational education programs and student leadership organizations to deliver the great learning opportunities students want, need and impact them. Students participating in these programs have been shown to excel in nearly every academic measure including essential skills assessment and graduation rate. With these programs suffering cutbacks and program loss, many students will no longer get the hands on education they need. FBLA and other ctso’s are certainy going to suffer or cease to exist.
What can be done to help FBLA? Well, you can contact your legislators and let them know how important FBLA is and encourage them to continue to fund FBLA and the other CTSO’s. To find contact information, you can visit the Oregon FBLA Advocacy page. Ways to advocate:
- Familiarize yourself with the situation and the facts. Funding for the Student Leadership Development Center (SLDC) is in the Oregon Department of Education budget as a Grant-in-Aid. The Oregon Department of Education contracts with Willamette Education Service District for operation of the SLDC. As of May 18, the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee removed the Student Leadership Development Center from the budget. Publicity and statistical information is available from the SLDC.
- Review the talking pointsthat have been developed.
- Develop your own key statement or message to clearly communicate your support and your personal experience with your organization.
- Emphasis on helping students meet Oregon Diploma Requirements and prepare for their next steps toward a successful future is a helpful message.
- Always mention both Oregon FBLA (or your organization’s name) and the Student Leadership Development Center in your correspondence, discussions, etc. This is very important.
- Contact your own legislator and ask that they support full funding of the Student Leadership Development Center in the Oregon Department of Education budget. Share your own key message and personal experience with Oregon FBLA (or your organization) and the SLDC.
- Personal contact is best. Call your legislators and schedule an appointment to meet with them to discuss the issues and request their support.
- Write a letter to your legislator, sharing your own experiences and your support of our organizations and the SLDC.
- Phone your legislators. You will probably talk with a Legislative Aide. Ask them to support full funding of the SLDC in the ODE budget.
- Send an email to your legislators. It is very easy to contact your legislator through the Oregon Legislature Web site: www.leg.state.or.us.
- Contact members of the Ways and Means Joint Subcommittee on Education and the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Co-Chairs: Senator Margaret Carter and Representative Peter Buckley. These are probably the most important people to contact, as they are key individuals in determining budgets as they move forward in the process.
- Identify and encourage others to contact their legislators to voice their support. Students, parents, advisers, business partners, and alumni are all needed in the effort. State conferences are a great place for this to happen.
- Provide legislative public testimony. Information is available on how to testify before a legislative committee.
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper.
- Invite the press to cover your chapter, district, and state events and activities. Make sure to mention the Student Leadership Development Center.
- Continue your efforts until the final state budget is approved.
FBLA? Vocational Education? Who Cares?
You and every other Oregonian should care. The education system needs more vocational training opportunities, not less. Let’s consider a couple things. As our adviser Mr Fisher is always saying, we are failing 75% of kids because only 25% of our graduates go to a four year college, yet that is what our system is designed to do. What Oregon needs to do to help our state get back on track and encourage businesses to start or relocate here is pretty simple. First, develop a highly trained and skilled workforce. Second, relax regulation and taxation of business to encourage them to expand. Done.
Get involved, let your legislators know how important FBLA and student leadership organizations are to you and the overall economy.
If you want to contact our oregon legislators, you can do so at the following email addresses and phone numbers:
Sen. Jeffery A. Merkley (D)
United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3753
Fax: (202) 228-3997
Sen. Ron Wyden (D)
United States Senate
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3703
Phone: (202) 224-5244
Fax: (202) 228-2717
Rep. Greg P. Walden (R)
U.S. House of Representatives
2182 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0001
Phone: (202) 225-6730
Fax: (202) 225-5774
Sen. Jason A. Atkinson (R)
900 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1702
Fax: (503) 986-1058