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Legislation Stimulation: Ms. Williams Goes to Washington

May 5, 2010

by Carol Boyd

Across the nation as states busily vie to race to the top and turn around their schools with improvement grants, it is quite apparent that the big “O” in Washington is using federal funds in an all-out effort to shape public education. To that same end, yesterday the parents of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) sent their own “O” – veteran parent leader Ocynthia Williams – to Washington in an effort to shape public education as well. As is typical of CEJ, when the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, we move the mountain.

The occasion was a press conference hosted by Senator Thomas Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman George Miller (D-CA) to enlist “real voices of the people” to support their Education Jobs Bill aka “Keep Our Educators Working Act”. If passed by Congress, the bill would:

 Provide $23 billion to states to support retention of K-12 and post-secondary education positions

 Reduce cuts to states’ education budgets and prevent layoffs

The proposed legislation is similar to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund that was established as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year.

As seen in the video below, Ms. Williams eloquently stressed the importance and benefits of this pending legislation not only to parents and students in New York State but to school districts nationwide. She emphasized that this funding was even more critical for the economic stability of our nation than the Wall Street bail-out, as their plight was fueled by rampant greed and that of our schools by dire need.

Additional sentiments of support for the bill were offered by parent leaders from two other community groups and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who has not forgotten where she came from.

We must not leave any child behind and we certainly cannot outsource their education. There is an abundance of research that demonstrates the impact of an under-educated versus well-educated population on society. If an education is one of the most tangible things one has that cannot be taken away, isn’t the cost of that education priceless?

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