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To Whom It May Concern

Rene Cisneros, Staff Writer

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A Little context…

If you’re reading this, it is likely that you’ve become accustomed to “outdated textbooks, aging facilities and underpaid teachers,” especially in the Clifton Schools District, which has been underfunded nearly one half billion dollars since 2008. This is the direct cause of legislations, primarily the State Fair Funding Act of 2008, passed under Christie as an attempt to remedy an already existing gap in funding between high need districts and high income ones. This effort was in vain as New Jersey schools are underfunded by at least one billion dollars yearly. On top of this, the districts that are being shortchanged the most are those that need the most aid, as reported by a study by Education Law Center. If no immediate action is done by newly elected Governor Phil Murphy, Clifton students from all grades should expect to see “larger class sizes, greater workloads for teachers, and a reduction in course offerings for students.”

 

To Whom it May Concern,

165 Clifton Ave, a scarlet brick building, was where I spent my childhood, and is without a doubt the one place that molded me into the person I am today. The most important factor of a person’s upbringing is the access to a quality education, a fact I not only learned first hand, but also something I am currently witnessing through my little brother. He is currently 9 years old and attending School 5, another scarlet brick school, an entire town away from where we live, attending smaller classes due to learning difficulties. He is at a distinct disadvantage, one that would only be made worse by firing the teachers necessary to bring him up to par with other kids his age. By cutting the programs that would aid him in his struggle to continue forward with his education, his disadvantage increases.

I am already a Junior, meaning two more years and I will be away at a university, and I want to make sure my brother is able to have the same opportunities that I had while I was there, beside him, helping him through any obstacle. I’m writing this letter as an older brother and in the name of other older siblings, parents, and the family of students in the Clifton school district. Our number one priority must be quality education for all students, the assurance of opportunities vital for our youth. It is the main reason for why I joined the Clifton Student Union; it seemed to be the most direct form of action for me to take to help ensure a brighter and more exceptional school experience for both, me and, more importantly, my brother.

This is just one of many examples of how budget cuts have affected, and will continue to affect, the lives of Clifton residents. Something news articles are unable to capture is the “why,” the driving force for the actions we take, and the lives of those who decided to march in May of this year.

“The students made the half-mile walk after school while holding homemade signs and snapping selfies along the way.” -Sara Jerde, NJ.com

We are much more than selfie taking teenagers, we are young adults capable of understanding the consequences of actions taken by those in positions of power. We are also capable of taking action, to have our voices heard, and to do anything in our power to secure a brighter future for Clifton.

Over 400 Million dollars have been owed to the Clifton district this decade, a fact you have undoubtedly memorized by now. It’s effects are real to the district, seen by over 40 staff members  who were fired to balance the budget. We are very grateful for the over 3 Million received this year, funds that will hopefully be used to improve certain aspects of our schools, but there is still much more work to be done. We hope to have your support in our push to fairly fund Clifton.

http://www.nj.com/passaic-county/index.ssf/2017/03/clifton_students_protest_amount_state_gives_distri.html

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/education/2017/03/04/clifton-students-plan-march-protest-school-funding/98703152/

http://www.edlawcenter.org/assets/files/pdfs/publications/Shortchanging%20New%20Jersey%20Students.pd

1 Comment

One Response to “To Whom It May Concern”

  1. Raymond Burns on January 31st, 2018 11:23 am

    Nice article Rene! Happy to hear how you are being proactive for your brother and the current circumstances many people are struggling with instead of just complaining about it.

    [Reply]

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