Educators use congressional recess to warn lawmakers about destructive Trump-DeVos budget

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by Brian Washington

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Washington educator Pam Kruse, an 8th grade teacher with 24-years of classroom experience, plans to attend tonight one of the hundreds of town halls taking place nationwide this week during Congress’ April recess.

She sees it as part of her responsibility as an educator and something she owes her students.

I am not going to give up my voice and have someone else do it,” said Kruse. “That’s my job as a citizen, an educator, and an advocate for students.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate left Washington, D.C. last week and are now back home showing up at local town halls and taking calls and visits from thousands of educators, like Kruse, who are worried about President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ education budget.

The Trump-DeVos budget seeks to slash education funding by a staggering $9 billion dollars. But it sets aside $1.4 billion for private school vouchers. Vouchers, often called some other name that masks the fact that it’s really a voucher scheme, including education savings accounts, tuition tax credits, and opportunity scholarships, use public tax dollars to subsidize tuition at private schools. Vouchers also drain valuable resources away from the 9 out of 10 students who are educated in our public schools.

**Find out where the nearest town hall is happening in your neighborhood/community**

Kruse says the town hall she’s attending is supposed to focus on Russian ties to the Trump administration. When asked if she thinks education will come up, she says it definitely will—because she will bring it up.

“I will raise my hand and say, ‘Let’s talk about education,’”said Kruse. “And I am hoping others will say, ‘Yeah, tell me more about Trump’s budget and his positions on vouchers and privatization.’”

Kruse, like many other Education Votes readers, has seen news footage of how energized the crowds can be at these town halls. At a recent town hall in Arkansas, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton faced a backlash when the subject of President Trump not releasing his tax returns came up (see video below).

 

However, Kruse doesn’t expect anything like that to happen at tonight’s town hall, which will feature U.S. Representative Dennis Heck of the state’s 10 congressional district. Kruse calls Heck a progressive who is a friend to public education. Nevertheless, she believes it’s still important for her and other pro-public education activists to show up at tonight’s town hall and get engaged.

“You have to be a part of the process,” said Kruse. “You can’t assume Representative Heck is going to vote the way you want him to on an issue if you haven’t explained to him why that issue is important to students, their families, and our communities. We can’t rely on someone else to do it.”

Want to learn how you can speak up for students at a townhall event? Watch our training below!

 

Reader Comments

  1. Sorry people. No one cares. The government doesn’t care what you think or what you want. Our government feels that the middle class should shut up and work . They don’t care if you kid learns, lives, or dies. As long as they can reach in their pockets and feel money, that’s what is important to them. This country’s future is lost….except if they’ve allowed you to become rich. If you disagree with me, that’s good. Be ready to be disappointed. We have no power to change this. There are people who want to change this but can’t. The rest are either too apathetic or too lazy. The 1% won ladies and gents

  2. As the husband of a teacher, I am a public school advocate. As a father and grandfather I am a public school advocate. But I will not support a teacher who tries to tell their pupils what to think. I have seen several videos and interviews of teachers that do not, let’s say, teach how to think,.but teaches what to think. This is a failure on their part. The more people see this happen, the less chance they will support public schools.
    It is my belief that if the people of this nation turns the teaching of their children over to corporations, the children will not get a balanced and informed education. A board of directors instead of a board of parents, do not know what children need.

  3. Vouchers are just a way for the rich to give their friends and new business associates an easy way to make money.

  4. Without any accountability, get ready for the greedy hands ready to grab the money. I saw what happened when after school tutoring money was taken away from our district and given to private companies. Parents complained. Some of these companies were just mailing worksheets to their kids and providing no tutor contact. As a taxpayer I object to providing public funds to a private organization with zero accountability. Billions of dollars being given away with no questions asked? In my corporate job that’s the equivalent of some employees being held accountable, while letting others do whatever they want, no questions asked. In my classroom that would mean high expectations and standards for some, while the rest of the class does whatever they want. Can anyone explain to my why zero accountability is a good idea?

  5. “That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.” Noam Chomsky

  6. I oppose vouchers and privatization. i support strong community public schools run by elected local school boards.

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