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Unread 05-31-2006, 09:19 AM
Katie Reynolds Katie Reynolds is offline
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Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

edit: see this post for updates.

I received the following e-mail this morning:

Quote:
Teams:

This is an S.O.S. We need your help, and we need it NOW. As you may remember, Governor Granholm pledged $2 million to help start a FIRST Robotics team at each and every high school in Michigan that doesn't currently have one. As promised, the $2 million was put into the state budget, but recently both the Senate and the House of Representatives removed it. We have a very short window of time to convince them to it put back.

Please forward this email to your team and ask everyone involved (students, mentors, teachers) along with the school principals, sponsors and parents to take two minutes TODAY to email the letter below to members of the legislature who sit on the senate and house education committees, as well as the senators and representatives from your district. We want our voice to be heard, and to be heard loudly.

I have made the process as easy as possible. All you have to do is:

1. copy and paste the short letter below into an email
2. copy and paste the long string of emails addresses for the state and house
education committee members onto the "send to" line
3. pull the email address of your state legislators from the list I have provided
and add it to the "send to" list from #2 above. If you don't see your legislators on there, feel free to go to the following websites to look them up:

House of Representatives: http://house.michigan.gov/find_a_rep.asp
Senate: http://senate.michigan.gov/


Be sure to sign (type) your name, and include your address and the name of your school, if applicable. It is important for the legislators to see you are from their district.

I want our state legislators to be INUNDATED with letters so it will be clear to
them, whether Republican or Democrat, they cannot afford to turn their backs on this fabulous program. Phone numbers have been provided as well if you would like to call, in addition to emailing them.

I am counting on you to help make Michigan the strongest FIRST state in the nation. With $2,000,000 dedicated to creating new FIRST teams, we can easily do this.

Best Regards,
Gail Alpert



Send To: [copy and paste this list of the education committee members in the "send to"] kathyangerer@house.mi.gov, richardball@house.mi.gov, SenNCassis@senate.michigan.gov, brendaclack@house.mi.gov, SenIClark-Coleman@senate.michigan.gov, kevinelsenheimer@house.mi.gov, robertgosselin@house.mi.gov, rephildenbrand@house.mi.gov, jackhoogendyk@house.mi.gov , hoon-yunghopgood@house.mi.gov, herbkehrl@house.mi.gov , SenWKuipers@senate.michigan.gov, SenBLeland@senate.michigan.gov, lamarlemmonsiii@house.mi.gov, tommeyer@house.mi.gov , gsalpfirst@gmail.com , fredmiller@house.mi.gov , tompearce@house.mi.gov , lesliemortimer@house.mi.gov, johnproos@house.mi.gov , virgilsmith@house.mi.gov, SenGVanWoerkom@senate.michigan.gov, repbarbvanderveen@house.mi.gov, lorencewenke@house.mi.gov , [add your legislators email addresses here]

Dear Legislators from my District:
I am writing this letter to ask that you please reinstate Sec 99 (C) of the State School Aid Act which was removed by the Senate and the House. The FIRST Robotics program is vital to the growth of the future technological workforce in Michigan.

Currently 25% of our high schools participate in the program. Reinstatement of Sec 99 (C) will encourage students from the other 75% of high schools in Michigan to pursue a career related to engineering, science and technology.

[COPY AND PASTE INTO BODY OF EMAIL-add comments here if you wish or leave as is.]

Best Regards,
[your name]
[your home address]
[your school name, if applicable]
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Last edited by Brandon Martus : 06-02-2006 at 09:25 AM.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 09:59 AM
Pat McCarthy Pat McCarthy is offline
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Re: Attn: Michigan Teams

I've sent it along. Hopefully we can make a difference.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 10:36 AM
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Re: Attn: Michigan Teams

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat McCarthy
I've sent it along. Hopefully we can make a difference.
Like wise. My wife and I both fired off emails.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 11:06 AM
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Re: Attn: Michigan Teams

Got it forwarded from our team server, already sent my email
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Unread 05-31-2006, 12:11 PM
Katie Reynolds Katie Reynolds is offline
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Re: Attn: Michigan Teams

For those who missed it the first time around, here's an article I found the other day that discusses Granholm's proposal:

Quote:
Source: US Fed News Service, Including US State News. Washington, D.C.

Date: Mar 10, 2006.

Contact: Heidi Watson, 517/335-6397

Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm today said she wants the state of Michigan to expand funding for high school robotics competitions to promote science and technology in the classroom. Granholm's plan is designed to increase the number of schools participating in robotics competitions and, ultimately, to have a robotics team in every Michigan high school. The Governor made her announcement while attending the FIRST Robotics Great Lakes Regional Competition at Eastern Michigan University. "We must engage students in the study of science and technology so they have the tools they need to succeed in school and the 21st century workplace," Granholm said. "Robotics competition combines the excitement of sport with science and technology and is important in helping attract students to pursue these subjects in the classroom."

Under the Governor's 2007 budget proposal, the state would provide $2 million in School Aid Funds for grants to high schools to participate in FIRST Robotics Competitions. The grants would be matched equally by the local districts. "This announcement from Governor Granholm is recognition that FIRST Robotics is on the right track," said Francois Castaing, member of the FIRST Board of Directors. "For the last few years, Michigan has been paving the way for other states to see the benefits of FIRST Robotics, and this new funding and commitment from the Governor helps make Michigan a beacon others can look to. I believe the positive impact to FIRST will go well beyond our state."

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational, non-profit organization that aspires to transform culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today. It was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the SEGWAY. FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with science and technology to help high school students discover rewarding career opportunities in engineering or technological research. Remote controlled robots, piloted by students, go head-to-head in short ball games, battling to earn points during a two-minute round.

The program is supported by more than 215 Michigan businesses, including DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors, along with Toyota Technical Center, U.S.A. In 2006, the competition will reach more than 28,000 high-school students on over 1,125 teams in 33 regional events across the globe. Michigan will host three regional competitions, more than any other state. Approximately 2,500 Michigan students will participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition this year. Michigan teams have been part of the winning national championship alliance four consecutive years (2002-05). More than $8 million in college scholarships are available nationwide to FIRST participants. Michigan universities and colleges that are FIRST scholarship partners for 2006 include: College for Creative Studies, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Henry Ford Community College, Kettering University, Lake Superior State University, Lawrence Technological University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, and Wayne State University. The state's FIRST Robotics grant program would be administered by the Department of Education in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Economic Growth.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 01:16 PM
pathew100 pathew100 is offline
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Re: Attn: Michigan Teams

Here's my letter that I sent off. I hope it helps!

Dear Legislators from my District:

I am an engineer at Visteon Corporation and mentor for the FIRST robotics team from the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park. I feel very strongly that FIRST Robotics is making a difference in the future success of our state and our country.

I am giving back to my community because there was no program like this when I was in high school. It is a tremendous opportunity for our children to learn about science and technology. I became an engineer because I was inspired by my father who was an engineer at Ford and because he encouraged me to learn about 'how things work' and 'why is it made that way?'. Many children today may want to learn these things but do not have the opportunity.

I believe that two things are happening simultaneously that are challenging the ability for the people of United States of America to remain the innovators of technology in the world. First, children are inundated constantly by television, the Internet, and media that the greatest role models in life are sports stars and celebrities and becoming one of these should be their goal. Second, the technology in world around us is constantly evolving and becoming more complex even as it improves our quality of life. The FIRST Robotics program addresses both of these issues.

Today's children need to be able to not only use technology but they also need to understand how it works. The students that get involved in FIRST Robotics and similar programs can actually answer the question that all science and math students face at some time, "What good is learning this? When am I ever going to use this stuff anyway?" And they get these answers while they are still in high school. Critical thinking and problem solving are not classes taught in school, they can only be learned by applying knowledge. The students that I work on my FIRST team genuinely look up to me. They are learning concepts and applying knowledge that I was only first exposed to in upper level college courses. They see that a career in engineering is rewarding and being called a 'geek' or 'nerd' can be a compliment!

Please reconsider reinstating Sec 99 (C) of the State School Aid Act. As you are no doubt aware many companies in Michigan are struggling to stay afloat. Many times support of these valuable programs is one of the first items cut because in the companies' budget it is 'low-hanging fruit'. This state funding would be taxpayer money that would be very well spent. Please do the right thing to keep our children ahead of the curve.

Regards,
Patrick Murphy
Product Design Engineer, Visteon Corporation
Mentor, Lighting Robotics, Team #862 - Plymouth-Canton High Schools
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Unread 05-31-2006, 02:23 PM
sanddrag sanddrag is offline
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

That's rediculous to pull that out of the budget. In terms of government spending, 2 million is pocket change. They recently spent that on one artificial football field at one local high school here. And I'm willing to bet it won't even last. They are already concerned about cars driving on it, lawn chairs sitting on it, and drinks being held over it. Real grass would never complain about that. And they go and spend 2 million dollars on this thing.

The crazy thing is that you could double the size/impact of FIRST (20,000 more students) for only like 7 million dollars ($6,000 grant to ~1150 teams). And they spend just about 2 million on a single football field. Pathetic.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 02:28 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

Thats ridiculous, something like this is atrocious and shouldn't be stood for, I'm not sure how many people from Michigan are actively on CD, but I'm sure there are enough that if all of them sent emails, they would have to take notice.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 03:06 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
That's rediculous to pull that out of the budget. In terms of government spending, 2 million is pocket change. They recently spent that on one artificial football field at one local high school here. And I'm willing to bet it won't even last. They are already concerned about cars driving on it, lawn chairs sitting on it, and drinks being held over it. Real grass would never complain about that. And they go and spend 2 million dollars on this thing.

The crazy thing is that you could double the size/impact of FIRST (20,000 more students) for only like 7 million dollars ($6,000 grant to ~1150 teams). And they spend just about 2 million on a single football field. Pathetic.
For state/local government, $2 million is a lot of money. Local governments get by on what they can, while the federal government not so much.

Plus, what would you rather campaign on, getting the budget in with tax cuts, in with no tax cuts, or in but over? If that $2 million went to balancing the budget or tax cuts, that's money people will see. People don't get "FIRST" and see it's benefits, and most people now want to see instantaneous results, which such headlines as tax cuts and balancing the budget offers.

I'm not defending this at all, I wan $4 million in the budget for FIRST in EVERY state spending bill, but assumptions and hasty comparisons won't help anyone. Football field pay for themselves with tickets and concessions, robots don't.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 03:28 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Matt
For state/local government, $2 million is a lot of money. Local governments get by on what they can, while the federal government not so much.

Plus, what would you rather campaign on, getting the budget in with tax cuts, in with no tax cuts, or in but over? If that $2 million went to balancing the budget or tax cuts, that's money people will see. People don't get "FIRST" and see it's benefits, and most people now want to see instantaneous results, which such headlines as tax cuts and balancing the budget offers.

I'm not defending this at all, I wan $4 million in the budget for FIRST in EVERY state spending bill, but assumptions and hasty comparisons won't help anyone. Football field pay for themselves with tickets and concessions, robots don't.
Hey Joe, I don't mean to fire back, but FIRST is an investment in the future. It will not and doesn't pay off immedietly like a Tax Cut does, but in the long run it will make money. Listen to some of the Key Note speeches they have at regionals and in Atlanta, what FIRST provides to students is an opportunity to look at career paths that they wouldn't of considered otherwise.
/Tangent
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Unread 05-31-2006, 04:51 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

Quote:
Originally Posted by Conor Ryan
Hey Joe, I don't mean to fire back, but FIRST is an investment in the future. It will not and doesn't pay off immedietly like a Tax Cut does, but in the long run it will make money. Listen to some of the Key Note speeches they have at regionals and in Atlanta, what FIRST provides to students is an opportunity to look at career paths that they wouldn't of considered otherwise.
/Tangent
Oh I know Conor, but to most people, this is spending $2 million on Battlebots instead of extra money in their pocket/school. I agree, it's a great investment, but we have to look at this through different eyes to see why they would can something like this.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 05:21 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

Quote:
Under the Governor's 2007 budget proposal, the state would provide $2 million in School Aid Funds for grants to high schools to participate in FIRST Robotics Competitions. The grants would be matched equally by the local districts.
I loved the idea that your governor would be so supportive of FIRST. But given the reality of Michigan's current economic situation, I'm not surprised this would be cut. And if it were approved in the budget, just where would the local school districts come up with the funding to equally match the state grants?
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Unread 05-31-2006, 02:32 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

If any of you have the time, especially if you are over 18/a registered voter, give their office a call. Or, convince your parents, if you are able to. You won't reach them, but someone in the office should take your message. I'd think that 10 well-composed, independent phone calls over a two-day period will turn a few more heads than form emails. But if you can't, emails will be better than nothing.

Possible useful things to mention:
1. If you voted for them, say so.
2. State the legislation you want them to support.
3. Why it's important to you and the people (ie voters) you know (your parents?), your community.
4. If you have local sponsors, mention who supports your team, and why.
5. A few brief words about the potential benefits (show that you have some understanding about the bill).
6. Thank them for their time.
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Last edited by Winged Globe : 05-31-2006 at 02:38 PM.
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Unread 05-31-2006, 03:04 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

Its on our website. www.team66.com I have already sent my respectable reps an e-mail. We really need to send it like its Spam, and I mean REALLY!

Anyone contact Dean Kamen about this yet?
I talked to him over at Nats and he commented how Michigan was a powerhouse and the possible $2 million. I think he needs to get a hold of the legislature there and give them a few words.

-Joe
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Unread 05-31-2006, 03:07 PM
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Re: Attn. Michigan Teams: $2,000,000 FIRST Pledge Cancelled

As much as I hate to be the one to play devil's advocate, I'm going to.

Those of you who live in Michigan know what the economy is here right now. My father works for GM. I worry every day that when he goes to work, he won't have a job when he comes home. And we aren't the only family living that way. People with 30 years at the same place are getting fired because there's no money.

And we want to put 2 million into robotics teams? Seems a little bit like a trivial matter to me, when there are so many businesses going down the tubes.

Anyone who knows me, or has read my stuff on CD knows how passionate I am about this program, how much I've sacrificed. But in this case, I'm saying no. The house and senate made a choice. I hope that they use the money that would have been used for FIRST to revive these businesses so that we don't have to worry anymore about whether or not we will have a job. Jobs mean money, healthcare and a way of life. Right now, in this state, none of that is safe, no matter how many years you've had with a company, how much education you have or how respectable a company you work for. Frankly, I think money for robotics teams should not be at the top of the money list. We don't need future planning, we need the solve the problems now.
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