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Letter: Take heed of fall vote on state constitution

"This is an issue best solved at the

"This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities and families can find -- and in many cases have found -- solutions that protect all students. I have dedicated my career to advocating for and fighting on behalf of students, and as secretary of education, I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the department, but for every school in America. We owe all students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment." - Betsy DeVos, shown on Feb. 8, 2017. Credit: AP

Friends of public education lost a big battle with Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as education secretary [“Confirmed,” News, Feb. 8”]. Yet, despite our disappointment, it’s important not to lose sight that the bigger fights lie ahead at the state and local levels.

Public education activists must encourage state legislators to reject any effort to defund our already underfunded public schools. State legislators need to say no to voucher programs that benefit unaccountable and non-inclusive private, parochial and charter schools.

Only public schools are committed and required by law to teach all of our country’s students regardless of circumstances.

Perhaps the greatest concern of all for friends of public education is the Nov. 7, 2017, election and the vote to determine whether New York will hold a constitutional convention. Any progress made in public education, environmental protection, collective bargaining, pensions and social welfare could be reversed if a constitutional convention convenes.

Carolyn Faggioni, Bellmore

Editor’s note: The writer is a public school teacher.