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Law & Courts

Nonprofit Organization Set to Hire Parents To Push for Kid-Friendly Laws

By Sarah Tully — July 18, 2016 2 min read

Parents have turned to Common Sense Media to help them decide which movies, say “Finding Dory” or “The BFG,” are the most age-appropriate for their children.

Now, the nonprofit organization is turning to parents to help the public decide which bills or propositions are most appropriate for supporting kids.

Common Sense, a national group that guides families on entertainment and technology, this year started the Common Sense Kids Action effort to mobilize parents to push for public policies that help children, including education. A pilot program with parent organizers is beginning in California with the California Kids Campaign.

“We want parents to be the face of this because we believe they are their children’s best advocates,” said Buffy Wicks, California campaign director for Common Sense Kids Action, to Education Week.

By the end of July, the group plans on hiring 20 parent organizers throughout California to begin their work on campaigns related to two propositions on the state ballot. One would extend a funding and tax proposition for public schools, called Proposition 30, and another is related to a tobacco tax increase to go to health education, including electronic cigarettes.

Starting next year, parent organizers will shift their work to legislative bills, including K-12 education issues. Some of the group’s priorities are teacher shortages, arts education funding, online data privacy and early education.

Later, the organization plans to expand its efforts nationwide, as it has already done with legislative ratings in many states. A list shows if legislation is “For Kids” or “Against Kids.”

“If we can tap into that energy, we can create a pretty powerful parent-powered campaign,” said Wicks, who worked on community organizing for President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

San Francisco-based Common Sense Media has 65 million users, including 300,000 registered educators, and has helped children and families with media and technology choices for more than a decade, according to its website.

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Contact Sarah Tully at stully@epe.org.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.