What is COPE?
COPE, or Committee on Political Education, serves as the political education and action arm of United Teachers of Wichita. Its mission is to educate the members of UTW, as well as the Wichita community, about political issues that affect public education. In addition, COPE serves as a coordinating group for political activity on behalf of Wichita educators, participating in local, state, and national events. Finally, COPE serves as a political action committee (PAC). To that end, COPE raises money and distributes it to pro-public education political candidates, and offers recommendations to UTW members concerning local and state. Specifically, COPE does the following:
- Tracks general information about political issues that impact public education;
- Tracks specific information about state and national legislation affecting public education;
- Works with KNEA and AFT-KS to lobby local and state government officials on public education issues and legislation;
- Works with KNEA and AFT-KS and coordinates at the local level for political action events, such as rallies, legislative forums, election campaigning, volunteer mobilization, and fund-raising.
- Interviews local and state candidates who would have influence or authority over public education policy;
- Distributes PAC money to candidates who show a high degree of support for public education and educators;
- Makes recommendations to the UTW membership of pro-public education candidates in local and state elections.
COPE is an open organization to UTW members; any UTW member can attend COPE meetings and is considered a voting member of COPE for any meeting they attend. COPE meets monthly, usually the last Monday of each month. The COPE Steering Committee, which is empowered to make decisions outside of a regular COPE meeting, consists of the COPE Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.