Sharon Kirsch

Sharon Kirsch

Co-founder and Director of Research and Training | Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ)

Sharon Kirsch is a Co-founder and Director of Research and Training for Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ), a volunteer, grassroots group that formed in April of 2017 to fight universal voucher expansion. In 90 days and against all odds, SOSAZ mobilized thousands of Arizonans and gathered enough signatures to refer the Empowerment Scholarship Account expansion bill (ESA/vouchers) to voters on the 2018 ballot, an effort currently being fought by millions of dollars of out-of-state dark money. The citizens of Arizona have made clear that they are eager for change and want to participate in making their local public schools stronger. SOSAZ has taken on a statewide leadership role dedicated to education, outreach, and advocacy for supporting and improving public education in Arizona. In addition to her volunteer work with SOSAZ, Sharon is an Associate Professor of English and Rhetorical Studies in the New College at Arizona State University.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

The place of public education in our democracy is under sustained and systematic attack. It has never been more important to mobilize our communities to fight for their public schools and maintain this cornerstone of our democracy.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

I hope to see many creative and effective ideas for supporting participatory democracy and civic engagement and to engage in dynamic intellectual exchange of ideas and analysis.