In spite of a growing acceptance among education advocates of the need to prepare students for a 21st century economy, well-financed special interest groups strongly opposed efforts to allow Texas schools to use their state textbook allotment for electronic teaching materials.
The Technology Education Coalition—a broad-based statewide alliance of teachers, school administrators and employers—decided to press for a modernization of the state’s education laws that would allow Texas school districts to determine the best use of their state textbook funding, including investment in a wider array of electronic teaching materials or tools.
The Technology Education Coalition turned to ROSS Communications to develop and implement a comprehensive, message-driven campaign.
On a tight budget and short timeframe, ROSS Communications developed and executed a creative, multi-faceted message-driven campaign.
The campaign was designed to ensure lawmakers clearly heard two core messages: modernizing the state’s guidelines for textbook purchases is a necessary component of preparing Texas students to live and work in a 21st century economy, and the proposal is strongly supported by voters, educators and business leaders.
This successful campaign included an extensive, effective and on-message earned media effort; a vibrant and dynamic social media component; a targeted grassroots campaign that harnessed the power of local voters, school superintendents, educators and businesses leaders; and visually effective materials.
In the end, despite repeated and strong attempts from powerful, entrenched special-interest groups, House Bill 4294 was passed and signed into law by then-Governor Rick Perry.
Our effort generated substantial, far-reaching support for this landmark legislation, including:
- 400 letters from voters
- More than 180 letters from business leaders
- Letters, statements and testimony from the Texas Association of Business, Texas Association of Manufacturers, Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of School Boards, Texas Computer Educators Association, the Technology Council, TechNet Texas – and more
- Editorial support from major daily newspapers including the Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman and El Paso Times
- Significant commentary via op-ed placements, blog posts, letters to the editor and news coverage in outlets across the state including the Houston Chronicle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, Waco Tribune-Herald and KRLD Radio in Dallas