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Westchester 'keep kindergarten' meeting draws 350
Despite threats of tornadoes and high winds Thursday evening, 350 Westchester community members joined Westchester United to call on the state to ensure all five-year-olds have access to kindergarten.
The coalition of faith-based groups decided to hone in on kindergarten after hearing community members' concern at many local meetings. The group uses a bottom-up model to choose topics on which to advocate.
"What we started hearing throughout the county was a concern from everywhere about what's been happing to our educational system, and how frightened and worried poeple have become about cuts," said Rabbi Seth M. Limmer of Congregation B'nai Yisrael in Armonk.
Limmer became involved in building Westchester United three years ago in order to help "build an organization to unite people who cared about the social good."
Among the education cuts that resonated locally with members was a proposal in Port Chester, which ultimately did not come to fruition, to save money by eliminating the kindergarten program.
Limmer said the group is aware that there are myriad issues with the state's education system. "There are some that take a longer time to solve," Limmer said. "This is something that we think we can get done and make a real difference."
On Thursday, the group announced their goal to make kindergarten a right for every five-year-old. The leaders have met with Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who agreed to work with them, as have three senior members of the state assembly. The group is also reaching out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
To find out more go to the Westchester United website.