YEO Policy Books 2013 Policy Reader - Page 5

YEO Network Policy Councils Empowering and Educating Communities Policy Reader Page 13 Over the past few years, we have seen a growing movement to privatize education, undermine teachers and unions, and funnel money to unregulated schools. These developments, along with an increasing achievement gap, a number of underperforming school districts, and a growing distrust of public education among many Americans, have created new challenges for our public education system. In 2013, elected officials will face a number of education policy challenges, including the implementation of Common Core standards, the potential reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, and continued school funding gaps. They will also face new opportunities, including a renewed focus on early education and a commitment to the eradication of violence and bullying in schools. 2013 Ensuring a Sustainable Future Elected officials today face the important and interconnected challenges of protecting the environment, ensuring a sustainable future for the next generation, and spurring innovation and job creation. The Obama administration has made energy and environment legislation a priority for the coming year. State and local lawmakers will have a huge impact on this work, whether by addressing the challenges of fracking, creating energy efficient buildings, or implementing clean water policies. Page 15 Expanding Democracy In recent years we have seen an onslaught of legislative attacks on the democratic process and the rights of voters, and we continue to see efforts to rig electoral vote counts and to depress turnout in key states. These measures often result in the disenfranchisement of many already marginalized groups, including the disabled, the elderly, students, people of color, and low-income people. Meanwhile, corporate spending and dark money play an increasing role in elections, which further threatens the very fundamentals of our democratic process. In response, more and more Americans are calling for “Money Out, Voters In” measures, including innovative campaign finance reforms and efforts to combat excessive voting wait times, voter ID requirements, and other barriers to voting. Page 18 3