Case Study for Education
EDUCATION REFORM CHALLENGE:
Passing the Most Aggressive School Voucher Program in the Country
A group of education reform-minded organizations formed a coalition in an effort to pass legislation that would create a school voucher program to enable low- and middle-income families across Indiana to choose the best school to meet their children’s unique learning needs. The coalition retained VOX to develop and implement a communications strategy to educate policymakers and the public on the positive impact the legislation would have on student achievement, graduation rates, parental satisfaction and the overall improvement of public and non-public schools alike. Our opponents were defending the status quo and positioning the legislation as an unfair attack on teachers and urban public school districts.
Create a Compelling Message Platform Around Helping Kids Succeed
Our opponents were telling policymakers and the public that passage of the school voucher program would irrevocably harm public school districts, teachers and the neighborhoods served by public schools. The opponents’ message was focused on adults and bureaucracy. So, VOX took a different tact and developed a communications campaign that focused on the hopes and dreams of kids from low- and middle-income families and the power that the school voucher program held to improve learning, student achievement and graduation rates. To achieve this, VOX developed compelling messages and executed various owned- and earned-media strategies to educate, inform and influence policymakers and the public.
- School Choice Website: We worked with the coalition to refine its website to focus more on compelling stories from parents and educators regarding the promise of the voucher program, and kept the website content fresh with new editorials, articles and comments from supporters. We also developed and posted a video featuring influential interviews from national and state-based sources advocating for school vouchers.
- Editorial Board Outreach: In an uncertain environment, we knew that supportive editorials from leading newspapers around the state could help rally support among policymakers and the public. So, we traveled the state to meet with editorial boards, to educate them and to ask them to pen opinion pieces in support of the legislation.
- Facebook and Twitter: We communicated with policymakers and supporters throughout the legislative session and fed friends and followers a steady stream of news to keep them informed on the status of the effort and to enlist their help.
- Ed Reform Rocks Rally: At a critical juncture in the legislative session, we helped generate earned media coverage of a large rally held in the Statehouse to build momentum for passage of the voucher bill. Key reform leaders, parents and students dominated statewide print and broadcast outlets throughout the day and the coalition’s key messages were also picked up by influential bloggers.
- Opinion-Editorial Pieces: We also helped in the placement of several op-ed pieces that ran in leading newspapers throughout the state.
Generated editorial support from key newspapers around the state.
Moved the conversation from a focus on the bill bashing public schools and teachers, to the promise it held for students from low-income families.
Helped to create an environment that led Indiana policymakers to pass the most expansive school voucher bill of its kind anywhere in the country.