April 11, 2013

Bishop says educators are powerful advocates

Author: Kara Smith
Source:  RA Reporter
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U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, thanked leaders at the Local and Retiree Council Presidents Conference breakfast on Thursday for helping New York state students succeed and encouraged them to keep putting a human face on education.

"The most powerful form of advocacy is showing lawmakers the college student who can't afford classes, or the child who is hungry," said Bishop, explaining that it helps lawmakers understand the realworld impact of legislation.

Bishop also thanked members for their grassroots efforts that helped him win elections in 2010 and 2012.

NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi called Bishop a "strong advocate on the education committee, one who understands the importance of education."

Bishop cited ways education is under attack, including the House budget proposal that cuts $2 trillion over 10 years in non-defense, discretionary spending - jeopardizing programs such as food stamps, free and reduced school lunches, and service training for teachers - at a time when President Obama is stressing the importance of education.

"The House budget would put kids in overcrowded classes, send them home hungry and then blame teachers when they aren't progressing in the classroom," said Bishop, who also pledged to oppose vouchers. "I don't believe we fix public schools by taking money out of them," he said.

Mike Dobler, president of the Bellmore-Merrick United Secondary Teachers, and Sheila Goldberg, a NYSUT retiree leader, asked about Bishop's position on a federal budget savings proposal to use the Chained Consumer Price Index to determine Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Social Security recipients. Bishop voiced skepticism.

While a more accurate measure of inflation, Chained CPI would lower benefits to poor people and retirees, Bishop said.

"There are many other options to save money without disproportionately hurting veterans and those on fixed incomes," he said.
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