During Alcohol Responsibility Month, Responsibility.org Joins with Simone Biles, Offers Resources to Parents and Teachers to Help Kids Say ‘YES’ to a Healthy Lifestyle and ‘NO’ to Underage Drinking
Ask, Listen, Learn Program Provides Tools, Materials for Talking to Young People About Eliminating Underage Drinking
Washington, D.C. – April 3, 2017 – The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) today recognizes the beginning of Alcohol Responsibility Month, encouraging teachers and parents to take this opportunity to talk to young people about the dangers of underage drinking. Using the free resources and materials available through Responsibility.org’s alcohol education program, Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix,adults can help kids understand the negative effects of alcohol on the developing brain.
In addition to supporting teachers and parents with research-based materials, Responsibility.org has partnered with the most decorated American gymnast, Simone Biles, to share with young people the importance of being healthy. Biles recently joined Attorneys General from over 20 states to create public service announcements to encourage conversations between parents and kids about underage drinking.
“As an athlete, I know how important it is to make healthy choices, and leading a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone,” said Biles. “When parents and teachers talk to kids about how alcohol affects the brain, it helps them make good decisions of their own, like saying YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking.”
From 2003 to 2015, underage drinking declined 51 percent (Monitoring the Future report2015)—while conversations about underage drinking between parents and their kids increased 69 percent (Responsibility.org, August 2016). Although underage drinking is at record lows, it is still a problem that needs to be addressed.
From a seven-part animated video series to corresponding lesson plans, conversation starters, and classroom activities, these materials on Ask, Listen, Learn’s website aim to provide parents and teachers with the facts they need to have meaningful conversations about the negative consequences of underage drinking. The resources are consistent with currently available science, aligned with education standards, and are designed to be used by teachers in the classroom and by parents at home.
“Alcohol Responsibility Month is a perfect time for parents and teachers to talk to kids about the science behind the dangers of underage drinking,” said Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of Responsibility.org. “When kids understand how alcohol affects their developing brains, they feel empowered to say no to underage drinking and make healthy, responsible decisions. Using Ask, Listen, Learn’s resources can help parents and teachers work together to give kids the facts—and keep these important conversations going.”
“Underage drinking is down, but as parents and teachers, that doesn’t mean that our work is done,” said Leticia Barr, founder of Tech Savvy Mama. “It’s important for us all to keep having conversations about the dangers of underage drinking with kids and teaching them about how alcohol affects the brain—not only during Alcohol Responsibility Month, but all year long.”
To learn more about Alcohol Responsibility Month and Ask, Listen, Learn’s resources, visit http://asklistenlearn.org/.
About Ask, Listen, Learn
Developed in 2003 by a team of educators and prevention experts specializing in middle school-aged students, Ask, Listen, Learn is the most widely distributed alcohol education program for middle school kids, teachers and parents. Visiting Asklistenlearn.org, kids can play games, read about positive role models and take a pledge to make healthy choices. Parents and educators are also encouraged to visit the site for tips on how to initiate conversations with kids about underage drinking. Ask, Listen, Learn is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.
About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Edrington; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Recognizing 25 years of impact, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility and offering proven strategies to stop impaired driving. To learn more, please visit us at www.responsibility.org.
Arizona Lawmakers Expand Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to All Schoolchildren
Program is first of its kind in the country
Phoenix—Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts are helping more than 3,000 Arizona students excel in an academic setting that meet their needs. Children like Jordan Visser whose Cerebral Palsy made being in a traditional classroom setting difficult; like Elias Hines who wasn’t being challenged in his neighborhood school; and Aiden & Erin Yellowhair who are using an account to leave a gang-infested, failing public school for a college prep school on the Navajo Reservation. Today Arizona lawmakers passed a law that will make this program available to all Arizona school children over time.
“Arizona lawmakers made history today,” said Victor Riches, President & COO of the Goldwater Institute. “Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts give families unprecedented options and flexibility for selecting learning environments that fit the unique needs of their children. Because Arizona courts have already determined this program is legal, it will be the first program of its kind to be available to all children in a state.”
Empowerment Scholarship Accounts are like flexible spending accounts for healthcare, except that instead of depositing money into the account from a paycheck, the state government deposits a child’s share of school funding into the account. If a parent or student decides the public school they are assigned to is not meeting their needs, they can leave their school and instead receive money from the state through an account to pay for alternative education options and expenses. These accounts allow parents to spend the funds on private school tuition, to pay for classes at another public school outside their district, tutoring, online learning, textbooks, educational therapies, and other education-related services and products. Parents can use a combination of these services based on what they think would best meet their child’s learning needs, but only for educational services approved by the state. Unused funds can often be rolled over from year to year.
Arizona’s program is currently available to students with special needs, students in failing schools, low income students, students adopted from state foster care, students on Native American reservations, and students with active duty military parents. Today’s bills, SB 1431 & HB 2394, phase in an expansion to all Arizona school children over time. Next year, children entering kindergarten, along with all 1st graders, 6th graders, and 9th graders are eligible for an account. In 2018-19, the law adds 2nd graders, 7th graders, and 10th graders. The following year, all students in grades 1-3 and 6-11 are eligible. Students in the remaining grade levels will be eligible in the 2020-21 school year. New enrollment in the program will be capped at approximately 5,000 students each school year.
“A great education is a ticket to the American Dream. Every child deserves the chance at an education that will prepare them for a good job, a bright future, and a happy life. But for many children, the odds of attending a good school depend entirely on where they live. Education Savings Accounts change that. They allow parents to put their children in a learning environment that gives them a shot at a better, more successful life,” said Jonathan Butcher, education policy director at the Goldwater Institute.
In 2011, Arizona was the first state in the country to adopt this unique program. Since then, similar programs have been implemented in Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The concept was first developed by the Goldwater Institute in 2005 and was revisited in 2009 after the State Supreme Court ruled K-12 school vouchers unconstitutional. Empowerment scholarship accounts are different from school vouchers. School vouchers only fund private school tuition; empowerment scholarship accounts can be used for a wide variety of education expenses.
“Arizona lawmakers pioneered this innovative program; so it’s fitting that today they extended this opportunity to all Arizona students,” said Riches.
Governor Doug Ducey is expected to sign the bill into law.
About the Goldwater Institute
The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.