by Amanda Litvinov, Felix Perez and Brian Washington
Few would argue against the notion that public education is the greatest tool we have to maintaining a middle class. Every day in schools across the country, hard working educators give children the skills they need to become successful learners, agile problem solvers, and creative thinkers, preparing them not only to enter the workforce but to think and act as citizens.
Educators’ priorities are the very things that strengthen the middle class in the long-term. Here’s why you have a key role to play in setting the stage for the rebuilding of America in this crucial election year:
You know policymakers need to hear from you and your colleagues.
You are the dedicated professionals who are not only teaching our children to read and write, at times you’re also the ones making sure they’re fed and they’re safe. You also know that short-sighted cuts to education budgets, Medicaid, children’s health insurance, and school lunch programs have an immediate, negative impact on your students’ lives. But lawmakers tucked away in offices on Capitol Hill or in your statehouse can’t see what you see!
That’s why you’ve got to tell policymakers what resources you need to do your jobs, just like Diana Beatty who came from Colorado to talk to President Obama about her school. She teaches math in a basement classroom, where her 36 teenage students are often disrupted by racket coming from the loading dock and the boiler room.
“Our carpet is threadbare, stained, and approaching 40 years old, but can’t be replaced because there is an asbestos issue we can’t afford to address,” says Beatty.
In addition to learning more about the details of President Obama’s American Jobs Act, Beatty says during her trip to Washington she also learned how important it is for members to “get their stories out about what’s going on in schools in terms of budget cuts and things like that, because the public doesn’t necessarily know. Getting that message out there will make a huge difference.”