Prioritizing Kids During the Iowa Caucuses

Guest post by E.J. Wallace – Starting Line has enjoyed highlighting the hard work of the many issue groups working in Iowa this cycle. Here’s a look at what Save The Children Action Network is doing:

 For me, this is personal. I want all kids in Iowa to have the same opportunities that my three-year-old son has.

That’s why I’m excited to be a leader in Iowa for Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), a dynamic organization working to mobilize Iowans and others across the nation around something that cannot wait – investing in our children.

As the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state, Iowa offered a prime opportunity for SCAN, the political advocacy arm of Save the Children, to promote high-quality early childhood education through visibility, education, grassroots mobilization and direct contact with all of the presidential campaigns. We want early learning to be an essential issue during the caucuses.

Here’s how we’re making sure it is.

We’re making early education visible.

SCAN started our High 5 for Kids campaign in August by launching television advertisements—each featuring a Republican, a Democrat, and an Independent—that aired for the entire month and reached millions of Iowans across the state. Perhaps they even made it into your living room!

SCAN complemented this broadcast, cable and digital advertising by purchasing highly visible billboard space in the Des Moines International Airport, featuring the very same Iowans from the TV ads who planned to prioritize early education in their choice for president. Our organization also ran a full-page advertisement, with the same messaging, in The Des Moines Register.

We’re educating voters about the importance of early childhood education.

We sent educational mail pieces with key statistics about the positive impact of early learning to more than 70,000 registered voters in five counties: Woodbury, Linn, Polk, Dallas and Story.

 We also knocked on thousands of doors in Linn, Polk, Dallas and Story counties to speak with voters about this critical issue. I’m happy to report that 72 percent of those who we spoke to indicated that they supported expanding access to early childhood education!

We’re mobilizing our activists.

During the campaign, we collected nearly 1,500 pledges from Iowans – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – who committed to caucus for a presidential candidate who prioritizes early learning. These pledges were delivered to both Democratic and Republican candidates and their campaigns.

We also trained activists to ask candidates questions about how they would expand early education at their events. In all, 102 volunteers attended 38 candidate events for 15 of the candidates, including top tier candidates like Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

After the caucuses are over, we will continue to work with Iowa state officials and partners to ensure the introduction of legislation that will help pay for high-quality early learning programs here in the Hawkeye State.

Throughout 2016, our team will continue to engage the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle. SCAN’s work at the local, state and federal levels will continue to grow, and our team will continue to score victories for kids and the issue of high-quality early childhood education.

If you’d like to get involved, please visit

It’s not over yet! Help pass an early education resolution at your caucus.

SCAN has worked hard to educate voters, mobilize volunteers at candidate events, and spread the word that early education needs to be a priority for every presidential candidate.

But the race is not over, we still have the caucus itself!

Want to support young children at your caucus? SCAN has developed a resolution to expand early childhood education that can be submitted at your Democratic or Republican caucus precinct.

Click here for a copy of our resolution. []

When it’s submitted, email me at so we can let everyone know your precinct supported early childhood education.


by E.J. Wallace
Wallace is the Iowa mobilization manager for Save the Children Action Network.
Posted 1/30/16

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