Dear Senator Smith,
My name is Julie Green and I am a constituent living within your state. I am a parent of 3 school-age children, and I am disheartened to learn about the proposal to cut spending to the public schools and educational programs. I believe children are our greatest asset and we need to continue to invest in them and their future.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million American adults cannot read. The inability to read leads to a life of poverty and hardships. According to the Department of Justice, 85% of all kids in the juvenile court system are illiterate and over 70% of all prison inmates cannot read above a 4th-grade level. Despite this startling connection, Congress continues to consider cuts to education. I believe we cannot give up on our children. We must invest in education programs to ensure all students have access to a high-quality education.
Programs like Head Start are vital for teaching children from a young age the lifelong habits that will keep them healthy. In Madera, California, where more than 44% of students were obese and living in poverty, the school invested in a Head Start program that educates and offers healthy eating. The success has been startling. Obesity rates have declined, improving the health of these students. In addition, lifelong habits are being started early in life. The success stories of programs like these are numerous. If Congress starts cutting these programs, the most vulnerable among us will struggle the most.
While I understand we must balance the budget and there are a number of programs that need government money and support, we must invest in education. While education spending is often the costliest and therefore the easiest way to cut a large portion of spending, it is also an area that grows our economy. Economists agree that investing in early childhood with programs like Head Start will strengthen our economy. While cuts may save money now, they are hurting the future of our economic growth. To compete with the rest of the world in a globalized economy, we must do better in educating our children and youth. We must invest in programs that build the next inventor, the next great businessman, or the next great politician. We need to prepare all students to graduate from high school, go to college, and make a difference in the world.
In addition, spending money on education means we won’t spend the money on other social programs down the road. It has been proven that education reduces the likelihood of a person living in poverty. If people are able to work and support their families, the government is spending less money on programs helping families in poverty. Also, staying in school has been shown to reduce the likelihood of going to jail, which means less money spent on the prison system. When we spend money on education, we are helping the next generation get jobs, improving society, and reducing the money we spend on welfare and the prison system. Money invested in education makes a big difference to all of society.
I am urging you to take action and support our children. Do not sacrifice our children and tomorrow’s leader to settle a budget battle score today. I am counting on you to invest in the future of this great country and understand that when you choose education and programs like Head Start, you are choosing our future.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue. I have confidence that you will do the right thing when it is time to vote.