Thanking our teachers
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I’d like to thank all of the teachers throughout New York’s 17th Congressional District, and beyond, for all of the work that they do to ensure our students thrive in and outside of the classroom. There’s no question that this past year has been especially difficult, and our teachers have gone above and beyond to keep students engaged while adapting to the challenges of remote learning. This week, and really every week, let’s take time to celebrate and thank the teachers in our lives.
I’ll start by highlighting one teacher in particular, who holds a very special place in my heart: my 9th grade English teacher, Michele Bond. You might not know this, but well before wanting to run for Congress, I wanted to be a writer. In fact, I wanted to be the next Toni Morrison. I used to spend summers writing novel-length stories and ultimately chose to attend Stanford University because of its strong writing program. My love for writing is thanks, in part, to Mrs. Bond and the incredible English Department at Spring Valley High School.
Teachers like Mrs. Bond dedicate their lives to helping students learn and grow into their full potential. They give so much to their students, and now we have the opportunity to give back to them. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, which I was proud to help pass, school districts across the country are already receiving $135 billion - including hundreds of millions for those here in Westchester and Rockland - to safely reopen and properly address learning loss.
But we must go further to ensure our teachers receive the support they deserve. Through President Biden’s proposed American Families Plan, we can double scholarships for future teachers from $4,000 to $8,000 per year while earning their degree, and invest $1.6 billion to provide teachers with opportunities to obtain additional certifications in areas like special education, bilingual education, and programs that improve teacher performance. This plan would also invest $2 billion to support leadership programs for teachers, such as high-quality mentorship programs for new teachers.
As part of investing in our teachers, we must also invest in early learning. Right now, childcare providers, who are overwhelmingly women of color, all too often are not paid what they deserve. The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, which I recently introduced with Senator Warren, would require that childcare providers receive pay and benefits comparable to similarly credentialed public school teachers, and would invest in training and professional development for these workers.
As always, my office is here to serve you. If you or your family need assistance with federal agencies or in response to COVID-19, please call my office at (914) 323-5550.
Member of Congress