Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Media Covers Truancy Hearings Extensively!

The Impact of Yesterday’s Legislative Hearing

This morning I awoke to a hurricane of emotions swirling on the NFF Facebook group, my inbox was full and my phone exploding with text messages from angry despondent parents who hung their hopes on yesterday’s committee hearing. For those families who came prepared to give their three minute testimonies the experience has been discouraging and infuriating. Instead of feeling like their government heard them and is listening they went away with even less confidence in the political process. I have been concerned by a hopelessness in the words of so many.

For a year I been working to engage families impacted by Nebraska’s truancy law in the political process and I was proud to see so many of you come to the hearing despite the bad whether, sit through 4 hours of discouraging testimony by Nebraska “experts” who see no problem with addressing truancy in this way. I know how discouraging it can be, believe me, it is emotionally draining and often you are left feeling the overwhelming desire to give up.

Whatever the intent behind Sen. Ashford’s chosen format yesterday, today it has been fuel to the fire, that no one can control. It has widened the gap between concerned parents and the committee tasked with fixing this law. The conversations I have had with Sen. Ashford, his LA Stacey Conroy, and others on the committee, they have expressed a desire to work out a solution that will protect innocent children. I believe we want the same thing, a solution, and I believe we can get it.

I know it is hard, but don’t give up, don’t be discouraged! We need to be positive and continue to make our case to the media, lawmakers, and the Governor. We’ve come further than anyone expected a year ago. Last year when I first sat down with Sen. Fulton he said that it was going to be a Goliath effort. We were looking at turning around an entire government stubbornly holding to their idea as the best solution to addressing some areas of serious concern. Every state official who has been active in this effort has recommended no changes be made to the law, and yet Sen. Ashford has three bills on his desk to consider, including his own.

It may be a Goliath effort, but remember that David took down Goliath with a small stone. Have faith the mountain can be moved and never give up. This is no defeat, this is not a failure! It is an extraordinary feat. We have gone from news coverage that was dismissive of parents' concerns, to news coverage that is effectively communicating those concerns, and telling the personal stories that underlie them.

Here are the news stories that have come out of the hearing yesterday. You should be proud of your efforts!! Let’s keep it up. Come to the Q&A tomorrow and show the media that people want this fixed and keep the pressure on!!

Lincoln Journal Star

Omaha World-Herald

North Platte Bulletin

North Platte Bulletin - Letter From Brenda Vosik

KETV Channel 7 - Omaha


KLKN TV (ABC in Lincoln)

KMTV, Channel 3 (Omaha)

And Stephanie's interview with Scott Voorhees

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