Please do raise your voice

Frank Di Giacomo
Posted on June 24, 2010

When was the last time you contacted a legislator?

Or, more importantly, do you know who your representative in the U.S. House is?

I’m guessing that the majority of our readers do. But if you don’t, you’re probably not alone.

A 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center found that only 66 percent of Americans could name their governor. What makes that an even more disappointing statistic is that it’s a decline from 1989, when Pew found that 74 percent knew their governor.

The results on knowledge of the current vice president were similar: Back in ’89, 74 percent could come up with Dan Quayle; in ’07, 69 percent could name Dick Cheney.

So despite the fact that we’re now constantly connected to the Internet and have many 24-hour cable news channels to choose from, we may be less informed on our political leaders.

As Pew put it in the ’07 report: “The coaxial and digital revolutions and attendant changes in news audience behaviors have had little impact on how much Americans know about national and international affairs.”

A call to action

Considering this disheartening bit of information, it’s inspiring to see people get involved in the political process by reaching out to our nation’s elected officials.

Such has been the case recently in the school bus industry. In December, members of the American School Bus Council (ASBC) met in Washington, D.C., with legislators and federal agency staff to present an innovative plan.

The idea is to create a federally-funded, two-year public education campaign to promote greater use of school buses.

A letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was drafted, outlining the safety, environmental and financial benefits of utilizing school buses, and asking him to dedicate agency funding for the campaign.

But before sending the letter to LaHood, ASBC sought support from Congress. And to do that, folks from all across the pupil transportation community had to get on board and pitch in.

ASBC and the key associations involved in it — the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) — asked their members to contact their U.S. representatives and senators, urging them to sign the letter to LaHood.

E-mails were sent to legislators’ transportation aides, and follow-up phone calls were made. In the end, an impressive total of 49 members of the House of Representatives and eight senators signed the letter.

After the message was sent to LaHood, ASBC secured a meeting in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Transportation. NSTA reported afterward that the meeting “served as a foundation for finding the specific federal funds to dedicate towards the campaign.”

However this quest to fund the campaign turns out, all who joined in should be commended. As an industry, we’re working together for a vital cause, and we showed that we can raise our voices to advance it.   

Related Topics: Arizona, NAPT, NASDPTS, NSTA, public image

Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
Driving a school bus involves doing more than “one thing,” but every task is part of the bigger task at hand: safely transporting students to and from school. Photo courtesy Spring (Texas) Independent School District

Focus on ‘One Thing’: Student Safety

Certainly, driving a school bus involves doing more than “one thing,” but every task is part of the bigger task at hand: safely transporting students to and from school.


School Bus Driver Injured in Rollover Crash

The Wisconsin driver is taken to the hospital with minor injuries after he veers off of a sharp curve in foggy conditions and his bus rolls over and comes to rest on its side in a corn field. No students were aboard.

Safe Fleet has launched its fourth annual United Against Bullying Coloring Contest. Pictured here are students in British Columbia, Canada, who participated in the contest last year.

Safe Fleet Kicks Off Kindness Coloring Contest

Students can submit entries to the company’s annual United Against Bullying Coloring Contest to win prizes to help their schools spread kindness. A poster contest is included for older students this year.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!