Petition to Mike Honda, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Mike Honda
Save the Perkins Loan Program
Please note that collection of your street address is strictly for the purpose of notifying your representative of your support for the Save Perkins Now petition. We do not harvest or collect address or other contact information for the purpose of sending unsolicited emails, unsolicited communication, or selling or trading contact lists. STUDENTS, PARENTS, HIGHER EDUCATION ADVOCATES, ADMINISTRATORS AND SUPPORTERS Did the Federal Perkins Loan Program help you afford a college education? Have you worked with or do you know students that have benefited from a Perkins loan? If so, please help save the Perkins Loan Program by signing our petition today. This proven and longstanding loan program is in jeopardy. In order for the program to continue beyond the 2016-17 award year, Congress must reauthorize the program or extend the September 30, 2017 sunset date. Perkins Loans provide critical support to students with economic need, offering low-cost loans with flexible repayment terms and generous forgiveness options that are public-service oriented. In 2013-2014, close to 500,000 students with need were awarded nearly $1.1 billion in Perkins loans, with an average amount of $2,014 awarded per student. This funding is critical to students who may not qualify for any other financing options, including more costly private loans, and therefore would be unable to complete their education.
Petition to Bill Gates, Snoop dogg, The Jim Henson Company, Jeff Dunham, Steven Spielberg
Master's Degree Programs in Puppetry at All U.S. Universities
This discussion has been on the table for quite some time. The demand for highly qualified puppeteers in today's U.S. workforce is rapidly growing. Currently, there are only two accredited universities in the U.S. that offer an MA/MFA degree program in the art of puppetry. The dearth of concentration in higher education for exceptionally talented students of puppetry has been one of the main factors responsible for the 24 percent increase in the national suicide rate since 1999 (National Center for Health Statistics). Each year, thousands of highly selective puppetry positions are unable to be filled because the applicants lack the necessary education. Starbucks recently raised its pay by 5% to help thousands of struggling underqualified puppeteers working as baristas pay off their student loans--do you really want to pay an extra 30 cents for coffee? Many puppeteers must resort to auditioning for small-scale community theaters where waiting lists can span into the next decade. We ask those who may be aspiring to fulfill an advanced degree in puppetry to please sign this petition. We also ask those of you who may know someone--whether it be family, friends, or the homeless person with no teeth you walk past every day who resorts to putting on puppet shows with worn out tube socks full of holes--to please find a way to sign this petition. The future is on your hands.
Petition to U.S. Senate
Allow Federal Financial Aid for Students with Prior Drug Offenses
The United States incarcerates people at a higher rate than any other nation, with over two million people incarcerated and nearly five million more under supervised release at any given time. While the problems associated with widespread and often disproportionately-severe direct consequences of conviction have come into increased focus, more troubling still are the largely unnoticed collateral consequences of conviction, which often affect formerly incarcerated people for the rest of their lives. Currently, over 65 million people in the United States have some type of criminal record. The systems of federal, state, and local laws used to revoke certain civil rights and impose other barriers for people with a criminal history are known as the collateral consequences of conviction, and can create insurmountable barriers to employment or a return to full civic life, which many argue increases recidivism. A 2013 report commissioned by the Justice Department cataloged a staggering 44,000 collateral consequences nationwide. One particularly troubling example concerns the effects of a drug conviction on financial aid eligibility. Since 1998, amendments to the Higher Education Act have blocked individuals with drug convictions from receiving federal student aid, including grants, loans, and work study, for periods ranging from one year to indefinitely. More than 200,000 applicants have been denied since these changes took effect, and studies have shown that these laws do not deter young people from committing drug felonies. This year, Senators Bob Casey [D-PA] and Orrin Hatch [R-UT] introduced Senate bill S. 2557, the SUCCESS Act, which intends to restore eligibility for federal financial aid to these students and calls for a revision of the FAFSA form to remove questions about applicants’ convictions for drug offenses. If implemented, the SUCCESS Act would increase access to higher education for students with drug convictions, leading to better outcomes for those individuals and society. There are several things that I know to be true based on my experiences and those of individuals I have met: People absolutely can—and do—change their lives; to accomplish this, motivation and resiliency are not enough—people require both formal and informal supports during such an undertaking; the barriers to reintegration are higher for minorities, individuals with limited education, and those of low socioeconomic status; and, if the successful reintegration of former offenders into the community remains the ultimate goal of society, then legislators and the public must do a better job of facilitating that reintegration. If you, too, believe in equal access to higher education for all people who are striving to be productive members of society, please sign this petition and contact your legislators to urge their support of the SUCCESS Act.
Petition to Souderton Area School Board
Support Souderton Area Public Schools
UPDATE: Here is information that is part of the public record concerning the charter school's financial impact on the disctrict http://bit.ly/1RyhelJ Please show your support for the Souderton Area traditional public schools and all they have to offer by signing this petition. If the charter school expansion is approved, money that is needed for OUR children in the district will be taken away: $2 million! If the charter school is not going away (costing us $2.5 million per year) we can at least prohibit its expansion. $2 million will need to come out of our district's budget this coming school year to pay for the expansion, and it will continue to cost us in the coming years. The last time budget cuts were needed, the district cut the 3rd grade instrumental program, kindergarten busing, school sports and other activities among many other things. Imagine even more of these programs being cut in order to support a larger charter school that only benefits a handful of students - some who do not even live in our distrtict! This expansion will not only affect all SASD families, but all taxpayers in the Souderton area if taxes have to be raised to support this expansion! Souderton School District prides itself on all it has to offer to its tax paying citizens. They are doing the best they can despite the State budget freeze for education (55% of the state funding has not been paid yet this year). We can not take on an additional burden of expanding the charter school. Please sign this petition to show your support for our traditional public schools! If you agree we do NOT need to pay for charter school expansion, please also plan to attend an important board meeting on March 31st at 7pm at the Souderton High School. The more people who attend this meeting to support public education, the better!
Petition to Bruce Rauner, Illinois State House, Illinois State Senate
Fund Financial Aid for Low-Income Students
These are unprecedented times. Illinois has gone nearly two full years without a budget, with higher education and students left in the dust. In June 2016, our legislators passed a stopgap budget, funding our higher education institutions through the end of the year and crediting the MAP program for the year it had been left unfunded (the 2015- 2016 school year). While it is promising that our legislators were able to come together and compromise to release these much needed funds, we need to prioritize the passage of a full year’s budget for remainder of the school year. Even though this funding carried schools through December 2016, no money at all has come through for MAP grants for the 2016-2017 school year. This means that students are placed in exactly the same situation that they were in this time last year, filled with uncertainty about their ability to stay in school and graduate. Yet again, students are wondering if their schools will be able to cover MAP grants until the state passes this year’s budget. After a year of chaos and disinvestment, over 40 percent of schools are unable to fully credit another year’s worth of MAP grants for their students. Students like me have been doing everything we can to ensure we’re able to stay in school and graduate, but without MAP funding, I am not sure this will be a reality. Governor Rauner and state lawmakers, our students cannot go another year without funding for the MAP program. Please come together and compromise to permanently restore MAP grant funding for the 2016-2017 school year.