by Colleen Flaherty
Over the course of the ongoing battle over the federal budget, tens of thousands of educators reached out to their members of Congress to tell them to put students first and protect education from arbitrary and devastating budget cuts.
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It seems Congress was listening. This past weekend, the Senate made its first move in fighting the draconian cuts to federal spending by passing the Murray budget 50-49.
The budget, crafted by Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Washington), would protect federal education funding and job creation. It would reverse the across-the-board sequester cuts that will hack another $3 billion from federal education spending unless Congress acts.
The Murray budget stands in stark contrast to the Ryan budget, which drastically cuts federal funding by $5 trillion in the next 10 years. The Ryan budget narrowly passed the House 221-207, with all Democrats and 10 Republicans voting against it.
Danette Reid is a Florida high school teacher who stands behind Sen. Murray and other members of Congress who want to see the sequester cuts reversed and to see education funding protected.
“You get what you pay for. If you want substandard education and failing test scores, by all means, cut the budget,” said Reid. “However, if you want successful students ready to take on the demands of the current employment market, it’s vital to fund education.”
Despite this Senate victory, there is still work to be done in the fight for education funding. Virginia educator Amy-Leigh Smart Montgomery, for one, is fed up with elected leaders who aren’t sticking up for students.
“I will engage in every avenue at my disposal to be sure that the legislators who have a hand in letting these cuts go through feel the consequences of their actions just as bitterly as the children that are being thrown under the bus feel it,” said the high school English teacher.
She issued this warning to lawmakers who aren’t standing up for students – “Just remember, businesses can’t vote, but people do. Take the number of children in public school, multiply that by 1.5, and add all employees of public schools. That number is the number of votes you will lose in the next election.”