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National education leader lauds ‘public education champion’ Nancy Pelosi’s decision to stay

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by Félix Pérez

Describing U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi as a “true champion for public education and the programs that help ensure all students the supports and resources they need to succeed,” National Education Association President and Arizona high school math teacher Dennis Van Roekel congratulated Pelosi on her decision last week to remain Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pelosi cited the fiscal crisis now enveloping Congress as an impetus for her decision.

Said Van Roekel in his letter to Pelosi:

The stakes for our nation are perhaps higher than they have ever been before in this lame duck session and the 113th Congress. As Congress continues to debate between two vastly different approaches on spending cuts, revenues, and long-term deficit reduction, I am thankful to have a champion such as yourself at the table. I am confident that you will continue to fight vigorously on behalf of the children who have already sacrificed so much and done more than their part toward deficit reduction.

Pelosi (Calif.), a mother of five and grandmother of nine who was elected to Congress when her youngest child was a senior in high school, was instrumental in working with President Barack Obama to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. The legislation saved or created 275,000 educator jobs.

“Nothing reduces the deficit more than investments in education, which is the cornerstone to building America’s future and developing the next work force,” according to a statement from Pelosi on her website. “Even in this period of shrinking federal, state and local budgets, we must work together to ensure that a strong education is a right afforded to every student.”

The first female Democratic Leader of the House and the first female Speaker of the House, Pelosi was also pivotal in pushing for President Obama’s historic health care reform plan in 2010. She has been described as “the most powerful woman in American politics and the most powerful House Speaker since Sam Rayburn a half century ago.”

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