Freedom School children march against budget cuts

We received this yesterday from the Children's Defense Fund, and wanted to share it with our readers. Civic engagement to improve the lives of students is at the heart of what we care about.

Nearly 400 children participating in eight Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools sites in Central Ohio held a “teach-in” and marched to the Statehouse to highlight the dangers from proposed federal budget cuts to education. The children, ages 5-18, joined thousands of others from 151 Freedom Schools locations in 87 cities and 27 states as part of a “National Day of Social Action.”

The Freedom Schools college “servant leaders” who teach and mentor the children enrolled in these summer schools hosted the “teach-in” for community leaders, policymakers, advocates, and parents to discuss possible federal budget cuts that pose a huge threat to education and great harm to children. Some proposals, like the Ryan budget passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in April, would roll back education funding to 2008 levels, cut Pell grants by as much as $126 billion (more than $800 per grant), and slash $770 billion from health care funding that protects one in three children – while giving $4.2 trillion in tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. And such cuts would come on top of the state and local cuts that have already hurt public education.

During the event held at Broad Street United Methodist Church, college servant leaders and children shared stories about how education has shaped their lives and led participants to write letters to their federal lawmakers urging them to protect children from education budget cuts and invest in children to strengthen the nation’s economic future.

Lamar Graham, 25, of Columbus, is a servant leader intern at Urban Resurrection CDC's Freedom School. Graham was in foster care for eight years and said he was placed with “too many families to count,” but that the experiences gave him an “inner strength to better not only my life, but others’.” He is a graduate of Wilberforce University and Columbus State Community College. Graham said, "I never would have been able to go to college without Pell grants. Pell grants saved me from taking out many student loans. If you cut educational funding, it's like the foundation: if there is no foundation, the house can't stand."

For more information on the CDF Freedom Schools program visit