H.S. teacher: Hillary Clinton is the best choice for students, public schools

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by Sonja Witkowski
high school teacher
Manchester, NH

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I teach high school Chemistry in Manchester, New Hampshire, a city that has a tough time funding its public schools. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to use my own money to make sure students had pens, paper, pencils and other basic classroom needs. I do it because I care about my kids.

A significant number of my students qualify for free-and-reduced price lunch and come from families that are struggling. But what many of these families lack in resources, the parents make up in a desire to see their children do better and go farther than they did. I share that desire. I want to see my students get the tools and resources they need to excel and thrive in the classroom. I want them to receive all the opportunities that a quality public education can provide. This is why I am standing with my union, the National Education Association, which, on Saturday, recommended Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for President.

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Living in New Hampshire, an early primary state, I’ve had the opportunity to hear Secretary Clinton talk candidly and openly about her commitment to students and public education. She supports universal pre-K, finding ways to help families shoulder the burden of early child care costs, and doubling the funding for Head Start. She knows this is how children get off to a good start when it comes to learning.

Clinton has a proven track record on the issues important to students and public education. As the First Lady of Arkansas, the First Lady of the United States, and a U.S. Senator, she has fought to close opportunity gaps for America’s schoolchildren and for more education funding for distressed cities and students with special needs.

Hil and NEA
Secretary Clinton addressing NEA board members.

Clinton is not just an advocate for students but for educators as well. She knows that teachers and education support professionals are the experts and need a collective voice not only to maintain a fair workplace but also to stand up for what’s best for students. In fact, she agrees with us that students need more authentic assessments and that the role of standardized tests in public education should be reduced–giving teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn.

I recently read an Education Votes article by an Iowa educator who said it was his duty to spread the word about those candidates promoting views and policies that would be bad for students and our public schools. I totally agree.

But as educators committed to our students’ success, we have to do more. We have to work to make sure pro-public education candidates get elected. That’s why I am going to do everything within my power–whether it’s door knocking, participating in a phone bank, or speaking at professional or community gatherings–to make sure Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, and ultimately, the White House. I agree wholeheartedly with my union and its reasons for backing Clinton–Hillary Clinton is the strong leader we need to do what’s best for all of America’s students and public schools.

Reader Comments

  1. OMG! Warren is a liar, loud mouthed and obnoxious. Sanders is self proclaimed socialist. Where is the money going to come from? Oh yeah, the greedy corporations? Or those of us who bust their ass working every day?

  2. Billary is a criminal, arrogant, out of touch, obnoxious but otherwise a great person. No thinking person would vote for her for anything. Grow up and act in a mature manner

  3. Neither of these two articles explain the reasoning that led the executive board of NEA to choose Clinton over Sanders. The biggest problem Democrats have is getting voters to care enough about elections to actually go to the polls and vote. I don’t think Hillary Clinton can do that.
    Clinton waited until last week to take a position on the Keystone pipeline, and she still doesn’t clearly say where she stands on TPP, Social Security, Medicare, a $15 minimum wage, or sending our soldiers back to war in Iraq, keeping them in Afghanistan, or sending them into Syria. Hillary’s recent switch to maybe opposing TPP comes too late. The fast track authority granted during the period when Clinton refused to take a position means that TPP needs only 51 votes in the Senate instead of 60 votes. The damage is done.
    When a union’s membership is as divided as ours is in this race, the only fair thing for our leaders to do was to wait a bit and see how things develop. Endorsing Hillary Clinton now was a needlessly divisive step.
    Our leaders abused their office by using our union to help Hillary Clinton put up a firewall to block Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. We should respond by demanding refunds from NEA-PAC and using that money to help the candidates we support.

    1. Amen and Amen and Amen!!! It is absolutely SHAMEFUL that the NEA (and the AFT) endorsed Hillary!!! How DARE they not listen or consult with REAL TEACHERS in the trenches!!! I am SO DISGUSTED and DISAPPOINTED that the NEA and AFT pretend to represent real teachers!!! I support Bernie Sanders 100%! ( and a Bernie/Elizabeth Warren ticket would be great!) Bernie and Elizabeth LISTEN to the 99%!!! Hillary is a corporate lap dog and will say anything to get elected!!!

    1. Sanders has a 30-year record of support for public education, public unions, and educators. He has provided an established and documented record of sustained involvement with the goals of educators. That the NEA Executive Board turned to Clinton while discounting the documented evidence of Sanders’ long-term support is mysterious.

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