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Kids Tell Lawmakers: "Keep Away from Education Funding"



July 13, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Teachers, parents and community leaders plan to rally today to tell state lawmakers not to cut funding for K-12 education.

At the rally, part of a national Day of Social Action, lawmakers also will hear from about 300 students, says Nicole Hernandez, program associate for youth programs for the Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota.

"The kids are saying not to cut programs that affect them, because we need quality schools and we need strong communities."

The children taking part in today's rally against education funding cuts are from six so-called Freedom Schools around the Twin Cities, Hernandez says. They're part of a six-week summer literacy program.

"Basically, our focus is to have the children have a love of reading, because we feel that, once kids read and they love reading, that that definitely helps throughout their whole adulthood."

The program is free for a lot of the students who attend, she says, and instead of falling behind over the summer, many see a one- or two-grade improvement in their reading levels.

On Tuesday in St. Cloud, Gov. Mark Dayton talked about the impact on education from proposed cuts by the GOP. Republicans say they are willing to compromise, but won't go along with any tax hikes.

Today's event is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center for Community Building, 179 Robie Street East.

More information on Freedom Schools is online at cdf-mn.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN