As someone who works with children in our town, speaking out about political issues is not something I enjoy doing. Yet, as a teacher who sees the impact of political choices on our children how can I remain silent? Maine has cut funding to our schools, and our children feel those cuts in the form of lost programs at the high school, more children in our classrooms, and by our inability to buy high-quality food to feed them. Now we are about to lose federal funding as well. Massive cuts to after-school programs, special education programs, and the arts are being proposed by those who seek to transfer those tax dollars to those who don’t need them. These programs matter to our town’s kids.

Over the years, society has changed, new problems have arisen, and our kids feel them. They lack the voice to tell our political leaders they are scared, hungry, and need a safe place to go during the school day and after school. They can’t tell our political leaders that public education is their ticket out of multigenerational poverty. They can’t tell our political leaders that school is everything to them. So we teachers will. We will tell our political leaders that gutting our public school system will not only hurt our children and our families, it will hurt our community.

If you feel hunger and poverty are not issues, I want to tell you that we see hungry kids in our classrooms every day. We are also here to tell you to question political leaders who lead you to believe we can cut public education as a way to make our communities better, safer, and smarter.

Please contact your senators, representatives, and mayor. Beg them to not dismantle our public schools. Our children need your voice.

Mary Dunn

Oakland