[Susan notes: Comment from Annie: Hopefully, this call to action is heard.
Published in interested members
Feb. 14, 2006
A National Call to Action: Truly Leaving No Child Behind
It is now official. What many of us believed to be the case, that we cannot trust the current leadership in Washington to make good on their promise to leave no child behind, was unveiled as official policy with the release of the proposed FY2007 Federal Budget.
You can find the details of the budget in plenty of places, but without looking too hard here is as sample of what you will find:
• Education funding has been cut for the second time in two years, this time including underfunding NCLB by $15.4 billion, eliminating 19,000 slots from Head Start, and cutting funds for guaranteed student loans. Overall, Education takes a cut of over 5%.
• Programs that help the children of the poor are cut. Medicare will be cut drastically and child care assistance for over 400,000 children whose parents are among the working poor will be eliminated.
• A 4% cut in environmental protection, much of it coming from programs to rebuild sewer systems to stop the fouling of water sources in our major cities, will impact the living conditions of urban children.
There’s more, but why dwell on it except to note that the budget will continue to sky-rocket the deficit that we are passing on to our children and grandchildren.
What is to be done?
We at The Forum think it is time to act - in partnership with others across the country - to take matters into our own hands. Like many Americans we share and believe in the intent of leaving no child behind. Our careers have been devoted to working with and developing schools that live up to this mission.
Just like you we did not need federal legislation to tell us that America has fallen short in fulfilling the democratic ideal of an equal education for all children. And we have been disappointed by the results to date of the singular focus on schools when it comes to insuring no child is left behind.
With this in mind, we are developing a platform and program that will help our nation take seriously the agenda of leaving no child behind.
We are looking not only at schools, but at all areas of the lives of children that will provide them with the tools that democratic citizenship requires. Children will learn best when they are healthy, well-fed, and safe, so our platform will include all aspects of a secure childhood. Our goal is to issue a national call to action, with specific proposals at the local, state, and national levels designed to insure that America is genuinely committed to leaving no child behind.
Here is where you can help. While we are in the early stages of drafting our statement and doing our research, we want to invite you to contribute to our thinking. Take a minute and email us your best ideas on how we can, as a nation, build a meaningful safety net for all of our children.
You can send us your own proposal, alert us to work being done in your community, direct us to projects you see making a difference. Do it now, just click here and send us your ideas. And you can share this with your colleagues and friends, asking them to join our email list and share their ideas as well.
In the coming weeks The Forum will be developing a plan for our children that is worthy of our ideals as a democracy. A plan that points out how we can provide public schools and communities that insures the welfare of every American child.
We are planning our first discussion of this platform at a public meeting in Chicago this spring—you will receive notice of it via email. From there we hope to build momentum through additional public meetings and other tools.
We invite you, as part of The Forum’s network of concerned citizens, to join us in this work. Because in the end, it is simply up to us.
On behalf of The Forum,
P.S. To read Forum Convener Wendy Puriefoy's comments on the budget, click here.