Public Education is Critical to Economic Security for Families

By Senator Nan Orrock, republished from

Americans have long seen education as a path to economic prosperity. As a Georgia State Senator and Leadership Chair of Progressive States Action’s Public Education Working Group, I work with fellow state legislators, families, educators, and advocates to battle education budget cuts year after year. The need to restore the draconian cuts to Georgia’s public education funding is the focus for us during the National Week of Action for Real Prosperity.

Real prosperity across America starts with making real investments in our students.  Remarkably, a small group of Georgia leaders are making sweeping moves that affect all our children across our state.  Since 2002, education spending has been cut by $8 billion in Georgia, crippling our schools. Schools have been forced to shorten the school year and increase class sizes, while furloughing and laying off teachers at the same time. On the home front, parents struggle to support their children’s educational and emotional needs, while all too often working multiple jobs and long hours, typically with no sick leave or time off for family necessities.

Parents should not have to choose between sending a sick child to school or taking time off and missing a bill payment or a rent check. Teachers should not be part educator and part caretaker.  By slashing education budgets and refusing to improve economic conditions for parents, our children and the future of Georgia suffers.

All children deserve a well-rounded education that prepares them to be productive citizens and to succeed in their lives and careers. Underfunded and understaffed schools can’t give children the support they need to strive for success. Children cannot receive the guidance they deserve when our school hours are shortened and parents work 12-hour days. These conditions must be fixed and the trend reversed if we want to make a true positive impact on Georgia. I will continue to work with teachers, families and education advocates to ensure that world-class educational opportunities and a clear path to economic prosperity are available for all students.