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Wisconsin teacher urges Washington to put students first

Investing in education and economic prosperity go hand in hand


WASHINGTON - February 11, 2011 -

Shelly Moore, a teacher from Ellsworth Community High School in Wisconsin who recently received her layoff notice, joined lawmakers in Washington to urge Republican leaders to make responsible budget decisions that put students first and move America forward. Moore represented the views of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

“We have to educate our way to a better economic position in the world,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Our students’ futures and the economic well-being of our nation are at stake. We know that the road to the American dream runs directly through our nation’s classrooms. Unfortunately, the proposed budget cuts by the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee are irresponsible because they shortchange students.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers is seeking draconian budget cuts to the tune of $100 billion in the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution that President Obama requested, which could gut special education grants to local school districts or Pell Grants to disadvantaged college students, among other education programs. Congress has been operating with a Continuing Resolution because of a stalemate over budget priorities. President Obama’s FY 2012 budget is scheduled to come out next week.

The proposed cuts would put additional strain on states’ budgets already cut to the bone. Wisconsin faces a two-year budget deficit of $3.6 billion. Ellsworth Community School District in Wisconsin is slashing 24 of its 150 school personnel positions to save $1.1 million. Educators and students already are feeling the economic pinch.

One of the educators not returning to school next year is Shelly Moore, a 13-year English and drama high school teacher at Ellsworth Community High School. Moore teaches grades 9-12. She also is the school’s only Advanced Placement instructor.

“This is devastating,” said Moore. “How am I going to look at my students in the eye and tell them I won’t be here next year to help them? In all my years teaching, I’ve never seen so little regard for our future. We have to put students first. Investing in education is the right thing to do for our students, our communities and our nation.” 

NEA is urging Congress to oppose any proposals that put the nation at great risk by decimating public education and other programs that ensure a competitive workforce and future economic vitality. 

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez (202) 822-7823, mgonzalez@nea.org