“Respect my state, my school, my kids and the fact that we’re not okay.” This is a message from this week’s Our Future Now, A National Children’s Campaign podcast episode as voiced by host Natalie Mebane. At the heart of the episode — the HEROES Act relief bill being stalled from heading to the Senate for approval and how that will impact education.
Mebane and co-host Jonah Gottlieb welcome guests Giovanni Hernandez, Organizer for National Children’s Campaign, and Ed Navarro, the principal of Rincon Valley Middle School. Discussed is how states’ budgets are suffering due to COVID, with many cuts specifically impacting education, be it K-12 or higher education. And the stalling of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or the HEROES Act — $3 trillion passed by the House of Representatives, but currently held up from going before Senate by Senate Majority Leader Mitch O’Connell (R-Ky.).
“We’re hemorrhaging and there’s somebody there who’s got the Band-Aid and isn’t willing to provide it,” Navarro says of this pending relief legislation.
Here’s a timeline of the episode and topics covered:
- At 4 minutes: Hernandez talks about how Governor Gavin Newsome (D-Calif.) has responded to his state’s $54 billion, coronavirus-exacerbated budget deficit by proposing nearly $8 billion in education cuts.
- At 5 minutes 20 seconds: Navarro talks about how those budget cuts will cost his school district more than $30 million in funding over the next two years.
- At 7 minutes 5 seconds: Navarro talks further about how programs that help engage students or that support them during trying times are always put on the chopping block when budgets shrink. His district is not only dealing with the impact of the coronavirus, but is still recovering from devastating wildfires.
- At 9 minutes 35 seconds: Navarro talks about how those wildfires forced him and his family to stay with Gottlieb for a little while. Most importantly, the experience made Navarro realize that you need to take care of the student as a person first, some who were traumatized by losing their homes, before you can properly educate them.
- At 12 minutes 5 seconds: Hernandez talks further about the proposed California budget cuts to higher education and the bind that puts college students in. He decided to transfer to an out of state university when the opportunity presented himself, but he worries about his peers who don’t have the flexibility he has.
- At 16 minutes 50 seconds: Navarro talk about how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Ky.) decision to delay consideration of relief for states is hurting schools right now. He also talks about how the rush to reopen the states is often being done in a shortsighted fashion that could prolong the problems the country is facing.
- At 19 minutes: Hernandez and Navarro talk about what they would say to federal lawmakers if given the chance: stop playing politics as usual and get to work on behalf of the American people by investing in young people public education by helping states plug their funding gaps.
Resources for This Our Future Now! HEROES Act Episode
To learn more about this week’s podcast, visit the National Children’s Campaign blog.
To access the Twitter handles of senators mentioned in the podcast click:
More Our Future Now Podcasts
PODCAST: Exploitation of CARES Act Could Harm Families
PODCAST: COVID’s Impact on Environmental Health and Our Health, Too
PODCAST: Teens Fight For Family Members on Frontlines #YourWorkersMyFamily
PODCAST: How COVID-19 Is Harming College Students
The Our Future Now Collaboration
Our Future Now, a National Children’s Campaign Podcast is co-hosted by Jonah Gottlieb and Natalie Mebane. Gottlieb and Mebane are also co-founders of NCC. Gottlieb, a high school senior from Petaluma, California, is also the captain of One Planet Living and the co-founder and president of Global Awareness. Mebane is the Associate Director of US Policy for 350, an international movement looking to end the use of fossil fuels while promoting renewable energy.
Our Future Now is a collaboration between Parentology, the National Children’s Campaign and Goal 17 Media.
The National Children’s Campaign (NCC) is a national nonprofit organization that amplifies the voices of America’s 74 million children and youth, making sure our nation’s political leaders prioritize issues –health, education, climate and environment, child welfare, gun violence, child immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and youth civic engagement — that matter to those who are too young to vote.
Goal 17 Media is a media network producing podcasts, videos and documentaries that inspire individuals and contribute to the common good.