You Tell Us: Our Young People Deserve an Education – Not Cuts

Today, many families in the East Bay face serious challenges.

Some are working two or three jobs and still struggling to make ends meet.

Many face the terrible reality of hunger and homelessness.

Others are fighting to get their young children into Head Start programs to give them a jump-start in life, while others struggle to afford a college education or get their children into quality after-school programs.

I personally know these families’ challenges.  As a young single mother raising two boys, I was on public assistance. It was a bridge over troubled water for me and countless other families in our community.

Families deserve access to programs that help them succeed.

Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have a very different vision.

In the budget that passed the House last week, Republicans would gut food assistance programs, cut affordable housing, slash Head Start and eliminate investments in financial aid.

It is a budget designed to keep families in poverty.

The House Republican budget robs children of a high-quality education at every turn.

California would lose more than 4,500 Head Start spots, denying toddlers the chance to succeed before they even know how to read or write.

These disadvantaged students would then go on to underfunded schools. Struggling schools would be forced to absorb an additional $147 million in GOP cuts – the equivalent of 2,030 California teachers’ salaries.

After graduating from over-crowded and underfunded schools, young people would find most doors to an affordable college education closed.

Under the Republican budget, more than 1 million California college students would see reduced financial aid.

Young people that decide to enter the workforce would see workforce training programs shuttered. The Republican budget would remove 269,800 Californians from these programs which provide critical skills for finding good paying jobs.

Our government should not only work for the super wealthy and well-connected.  It should work for our families and our children.

Progressives have a vision that invests in our young people, working families, seniors and those looking for work.

Under the Progressive Caucus budget, kids would be given the educational opportunities they deserve, from universal pre-K to well-funded public schools and a debt-free college education.

Congress has two paths before us.

The first slashes investments in our young people to preserve tax giveaways to the rich.

The other – the progressive vision – invests in our young people and their educations.

Our next generation deserves more than cuts. They deserve a path to a brighter future.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee represents the East Bay in Congress. She is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees.

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You Tell Us is Oakland North’s community Op-Ed page, featuring opinion pieces submitted by readers on Oakland-related topics. Have something to say? Send essays of 500-1,000 words to staff@oaklandnorth.net. We’d love to hear from you!

All essays reflect the opinions of their authors, and not of the Oakland North staff or the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Oakland North reserves the right to edit submissions for length, clarity and spelling/grammar. Oakland North does not pay for the the publication of opinion pieces. You Tell Us submissions must be written in civil and non-offensive language. We do not publish hate speech, libelous material, unsubstantiated allegations or rumors, or personal attacks on individuals or groups.

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