Rep. Louise Slaughter — a longtime public schools advocate whose work to ensure children in poverty had access to busing and health care — told delegates Saturday that Washington must reaffirm its commitment public education so all students are given “a fair shot” to succeed.
The Rochester Democrat, who has been serving in the House of Representatives since 1987, said she was proud to be known as “a good friend to NYSUT,” a union president Karen E. Magee called her.
A former member of the state Assembly, Slaughter made her mark by writing into the McKinney-Vento Homeless Housing Assistance Act the provision ensuring that homeless children have their health care needs addressed and be provided busing to schools — even if their families are forced to move to a shelter out of the district.
Passed more than a quarter-century ago, the measure is still making an impact today, enabling thousands of children to attend public school.
Slaughter, the daughter of a Kentucky blacksmith who worked in the coal mines, holds the distinction of being the only microbiologist in Congress. She said while she has long prided herself on her record of bringing high-paying tech and science jobs to her district, she told delegates that lawmakers must also consider it a priority to ensure children have access to a quality education so there is a skilled work force to support those jobs.