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Working for Kids and Families on the State Level in 2017

From digital citizenship to the Earned Income Tax Credit, Kids Action is committed to working for kids and families in state capitols throughout the country.

Common Sense Kids Action has worked with policymakers to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to thrive in today's world. Our policy work operates at the nexus of tech and social policy in an effort to ensure that every child who makes up America's next generation is being provided with opportunities to succeed, inside and outside the classroom.

In three years, our parent and educator advocates have worked with policymakers from states around the country to pass meaningful legislation that protects students' privacy, ensures family access to progressive fiscal policies such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, and provides a foundational education that includes digital citizenship and media literacy training.

We will continue our work in 2017 to ensure that these policies are represented in state capitols throughout the country and that policymakers are focused on our most important resource, our children. Below is a sample of our 2017 policy efforts.

Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy

Common Sense Kids Action recognizes that media and technology have become commonplace in all areas of our lives. In our classrooms, students must learn how to safely, ethically, responsibly, and effectively use media and technology resources. Kids have never had as much access to the internet, media, and mobile technologies at home and school as they do today. Schools can play a critical role by educating, empowering, and engaging children with best practices around technology use.

Our organization believes in a comprehensive approach to digital citizenship and media literacy legislation that engages thought leaders, educators, parents, and policymakers in an effort to develop the protections necessary for our children to capitalize on the greater opportunities provided by the advancement of technology in the classroom. In 2017, we will work with policymakers throughout the country to expand student and parent access to digital citizenship and media literacy resources.

Broadband Expansion

Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, and in today's world that means making sure all kids have equal access to advanced technology for learning, no matter a school or library's ZIP code. Policymakers in state capitals and in Washington, D.C., are facing the fact that critical funding is necessary to support the continued adoption of technology in classrooms throughout the country. With the use of advances in technology for learning and administration, we must do everything we can now to finish the job of connecting every classroom and library. Common Sense Kids Action will work with state policymakers to identify budget solutions that would allow for federal matching grants with the purpose of expanding broadband access to rural and underserved communities.

Student Data Privacy

Common Sense Kids Action pioneered legislative efforts that have shaped how third-party vendors contracting with schools can share and disseminate student information collected in a classroom setting. In 2013, working with party leadership in the California Senate, we drafted the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA) that has now been adopted by 18 states. In 2017, we will continue to advocate for this standard of student data privacy because we believe that a student's personal information collected at school should be used solely for educational purposes -- that a student's personal information or online activity should not be used to target advertising to students or families.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, is often described as one of the most effective anti-poverty tools available, because it's a refundable tax credit that flows directly to working low-income citizens. It rewards work, increases economic mobility, reduces inequality, and improves children's health. Common Sense Kids Action supports the state-based EITC policy, because it offers a cash-back tax credit available to qualifying low- and moderate-income working individuals and families. Evidence from the federal EITC shows that it helps recipients improve their economic stability and that kids from recipient families perform better in school.

We look forward to working with you in 2017 to ensure that all students have the opportunity to thrive in today's world. Join our efforts -- become a Kids Action Advocate today!

JR Starrett
JR oversees Let's Invest Large in Youth (LILY), a multi state program for Common Sense Kids Action. In this capacity JR works with a team of internal and external stakeholders to identify and introduce state based legislation that will positively impact kids. Prior to joining Common Sense, JR served as a seasoned political operative managing campaign efforts for some of the nation’s most competitive races. JR was recognized as a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2014. He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife Morgan. JR is a frequent contributor to Campaigns and Elections Magazine, contributing to the Campaign Insider column.