Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, March 2011
Denying HOPE Scholarship to Poor Students:
A Massive Blow to Georgia's Public Education System
By Dell MacLean
Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition / Atlanta
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 8, 2011
This weekend is a crucial period for the US State of Georgia, as a bill that would deliver massive blows to Georgia's public education system is going to be voted on in the Senate. It has already passed in the House and passed through the Senate Higher Education Committee-- it will most likely be voted on on Tuesday. We're calling on all Georgia residents to make a quick phone call to their state senator. This bill has been rushing through the legislature, and it's critical that the members of this committee hear the voices of the public as they consider which path to take.
This bill signifies the beginning of the end of the HOPE scholarship. The only people receiving full HOPE aid will be those who graduate from high school with at least a 3.7 GPA and 1200 SAT score. These changes would push tons of young people out of public colleges, particularly students of color and students from low income families. Our office has fielded dozens of calls, countless emails, and several personal visits for students and parents who will be priced out of an education if this bill passes.
CAN YOU HELP SAVE HOPE?
We need you to call your state senator and ask them to vote NO. To find your senator's contact info, you can go to congress.org and type your zip code into the box on the right. (If necessary, you can then enter your full address if there multiple senators for your zip code). If you click on the senator's name, you will see a tab that says "contact": this will have their phone number. Take a few minutes to call. All the talking points you need are included below.
An idea of what to say:
"Hi my name is ______________. I'm a constituent of Senator _______, and I'm a __________ (worker, student, parent, etc). I'm calling in opposition to HB 326, the bill to cut funds for the HOPE scholarship. This bill will price out working families who are already struggling. Students and young people did not cause the financial crisis, and they should not have to pay for it."
JOIN US AT THE CAPITOL
Please also come to the press conference on Monday, March 7, from 4:00pm - 6:00pm. It's a the Georgia State Capitol, in the Senate Mezzanine room (3rd Floor across from the Secretary of Senate office). Elementary, Middle, and High school students will speak out against the defunding of their future, will you stand with them? We are delivering the failing report cards that people from all over the state have signed. Georgians demand that the legislature bring its grades up this legislative session by addressing the following demands:
1. Recognize that education is a human right.
2. No more fee hikes, tuition hikes, or budget cuts!
3. Reassess Georgia's budget priorities.
4. No more furloughs or layoffs!
5. Take local action for better education!
This is a crisis of priority, not resources. Several alternative solutions have been purposed but the Governor, and others in his party, seem dead-set on making public education the first thing on the chopping block.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact
Dell MacLean at: 404-939-7699
or Tim Franzen at: 404-414-5521.
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
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