Posted In: Educator Voices, Kids Not Cuts, Michigan, Moving in Congress, Ohio, Uncategorized
By Amanda Litvinov
Some House Republicans are resorting to playground antics in Round 2 of the budget battle in Washington, threatening to force the nation to default on its debt or shut down the government altogether rather than compromise to find a balanced solution.
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Use NEA’s Educator Connector Line to urge your representatives to protect education, Medicaid and Medicare. Call 866-293-7278 today!
Refusing to pay our bills will do nothing to create jobs and grow our economy. But here’s what it could do: endanger the nation’s credit rating, as well as our ability to pay our troops, send out Social Security checks, and pay doctors who serve Medicare recipients.
And educators know that this showdown could have a devastating effect on their students, “especially those in special education and ones who are already likely to fall through the cracks,” said Diana Oldham, who teaches early childhood special education in Michigan. That’s why Oldham has made time to use the NEA Legislative Action Center to send emails to her members of Congress, and called via the Educator Connector Line to ask them to defend public education and working families in the budget fight.
“As an educator I’m upset about all the cuts they make and additional requirements they add to teachers without providing the support students need to succeed.”
The hard work of educator-activists like Oldham paid off in Round 1 when Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act on Jan. 2, which established new revenues, protected the middle class from higher income tax rates, preserved Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security and delayed across-the-board funding cuts that would have a crushing impact on public education.
Although we didn’t go over the fiscal cliff, the fight is far from over.
At a minimum, education could still be hit with a cut of more than $3 billion this year. That’s a scary prospect for educators like Oldham, and Rebecca Brown, who teaches instrumental music to students in grades 6-12 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“As funds are cut the quality of education is diminished,” Brown said. “As staff are let go due to lack of money, class sizes increase. Certain classes may not even be offered. The arts and physical education, if not already gone from the curriculum, are cut or minimized.”
She urges every educator to make a difference for students by contacting their members of Congress today.
“Many elected officials don’t really understand what happens in a classroom. They don’t understand that we take every child—no matter what—and we work to help them become the happy, successful adults that they deserve to be,” said Brown. “We help them survive the rigors of testing. We help them to develop a love of learning. We help them learn to question. We help them develop their creativity. I want my elected officials to understand what every teacher does for kids and why it is important!”
“You are a teacher and you have a voice,” said Brown. “Use it to teach our elected representatives what they need to know to make good decisions for children.”
“If you don’t, who will?”