Over the last several years, educators in Kentucky have shown that we are a force to be reckoned with. We have helped shape the current political landscape of our commonwealth. We were successful in electing a pro-public education governor in Andy Beshear and an educator as his running mate in Jacqueline Coleman. We have shown that we can and will show up when it counts and that we can move mountains when we do.
We have several big fights in the near future. From the national scene, we have people from across the country telling us to focus on Ditching Mitch. While elections are important and we need to always focus on electing pro-public education people, we have another daunting task before us: The 2020 census.
As an educator, you might be asking why this matters. The census is not a candidate and on the surface it might not seem attached to education at all. It’s just counting right? No. This is how we get our funding. The next time we’ll be able to count everyone will be in 2030, so it’s important that we get everyone counted correctly. In the 2010 census, approximately one million children under the age of five were not counted. This equates to valuable resources that are not funded properly.
You might be saying “But we do a count every year at my school!” It doesn’t matter. The funding for the resources are allocated based on the census that is every ten years. We have to get it right or we’ll be even more underfunded.
It doesn’t just affect our school funding. As educators, we know that support services that promote better, healthier lives for our children are integral in educational and life outcomes. The census helps determine the distribution of funds for health services, housing, local infrastructure needs and so much more. The census is also used to determine our national representation. The erasure of people from the census can result in lost seats in Congress.
So why teachers? We have access to entire families and communities through our students. We can send information home to help educate everyone to know what to expect and when to expect it. There are campaigns and elections through 2020, but the census can be a bipartisan effort where we come together. The census is a powerful tool that helps shape our entire nation. It’s important for all of Kentucky to be counted appropriately so that we can have the best chance for a brighter future for our state.
Here at VOTE, we have a page dedicated to the 2020 census.