FROM REACHING OUT to school choicers in Minnesota, to getting a political party in Pennsylvania to endorse the Proclamation, organizers are on the move to bring the Separation message to the state and local levels.
"We're in the start-up phase of the state chapter program, yet we're already seeing local volunteers going out and being active on behalf of Separation," said John Tuttle, Director of State Coordinator Support.
Additional state coordinators are needed. Anyone interested may call Tuttle at 517-866-2365.
In Minnesota, where a battle is raging over a school choice proposal in the legislature, David Swan is practicing a careful kind of outreach.
"With all of the energy being expended on this proposal, there's a lot of interest now in education," Swan said. "But if you tried to talk about Separation in the middle of this fight, you would alienate the choice proponents."
Instead, Swan--who is Provisional State Coordinator for Minnesota--is getting people together privately to build awareness of Separation. "In three months the legislative session will be over, and then I hope we can harness their energy to work on Separation."
When asked about his feelings about being low key when he visits Minnesota, Marshall Fritz said, "We need to show that we are supporting our local volunteers. What better way than for me to defer to Swan's judgment? This is a tactical, not strategic or principled issue, so I swallowed hard and am doing it his way."
Swan has also testified before legislative committees, and he often speaks with legislators one-on-one. "A few are actually pro-Separation, but woe unto them if they take a public stand." He recalled when he asked a couple of legislators, "Why not privatize the entire system and get the government out of the education business?"
"One of the legislators said, 'It would be good but it will never happen.' To which I replied, 'It would be good and it has to happen because the system is going to self destruct within the next ten years anyway.' One of them then said, 'It won't take that long.'"
David Swan's telephone number is (612) 561-3393w; email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: While applauding the idea of educating legislators, Marshall Fritz reminds all Separation supporters that the Alliance itself does no lobbying and takes no stands on legislation. When testifying for or against any legislation, supporters are asked to make no mention of their membership in the Alliance but should stress that they are "speaking today as a private citizen.")
Thanks to Ken Sturzenacker, Pennsylvanians watching that state's version of C-SPAN recently heard the Separation Proclamation read in its entirety. Sturzenacker, Provisional State Coordinator for Pennsylvania, read the Proclamation to the convention of the state's Libertarian Party as TV cameras looked on. Afterwards, the Libertarians voted unanimously to endorse the Proclamation.
Sturzenacker is a charter member of the Separation Alliance. "I know that education is one of the crucial areas if Americans are ever going to regain responsibility for their own lives," he explained.
Making News In Michigan
Diane Barnes, Provisional State Coordinator for Michigan, has already gained the notice of the news media. A radio station quoted her saying that government is the cause of the problems with public schools (a Separation supporter who heard it said the newsperson reported this as if Barnes' "theory" was rather odd!). One newspaper ran a piece on her and on Marshall Fritz's impending speech in Michigan, and another paper devoted six column inches to her and Marshall "Frisch."
"This is the first time that there has been a bit of controversy before my speech in a town," Fritz said. "It gives hope that we are nearing the transition from phase one (Absurd, safe to ignore or ridicule), to phase two (Bold, even dangerous, time to visciously attack and nip it in the bud)." There was no comment from "Frisch."
Diane Barnes may be reached at 810-774-1193.
The Virginia chapter of the Separation Alliance held its organizing meeting in March, and scheduled another meeting for May 1. Gary Reams is Provisional State Coordinator.
A recent Libertarian candidate for Congress, Reams is taking the Separation message first to his fellow party members. He said there will be a Separation booth at the Virginia state LP convention, and that separationist Rich Hough will represent Separation on a panel discussing education.
Reams hopes to reach wider circles with a public debate he is setting up for July 1, featuring Marshall Fritz. "That's where my efforts are centered right now."
The Virginia coordinator said he is involved in other single issue organizations, such as tax groups. "But of the two, I consider education to be a more viable issue for reaching people. Americans are not ideological, but when you start talking about their children, you bring it home and they become interested for pragmatic reasons."
A Consuming Passion
Ned Vare was consumed by the Separation cause before he was asked to be Provisional State Coordinator for Connecticut--indeed, before there was a Separation Alliance.
"I get up in the morning and I can hardly think of anything else," he said. "Every conversation leads back to it. I really feel that the government school system is the enemy of civilization and enlightenment."
Vare's major activity has been writing letters to editors of Connecticut newspapers, "fifty or more in the past three years." He also speaks out at public meetings and believes he may have an opportunity to go on local TV with his views.
Vare is looking for ideas from fellow Connecticut separationists about what they would like to do through a state Alliance chapter. One need he sees is for people to write hard-hitting, convincing soundbites about Separation that can be used "when you only have a minute-and-a-half to speak."
Ned Vare may be contacted at 203-458-7402.
More News To Come...
Other states (see listing in sidebar) are also being organized for Separation. If you live in one of the states shown, contact the Provisional State Coordinator to find out how you can help or to pass along your ideas. If you'd like to help organize one of the many states not mentioned, please contact John Tuttle.
We look forward to reporting exciting Separation news from your state in future issues!