Raising the Minimum Wage Can Help Students

At the County Council hearing on Tuesday, Sept 26th, I testified in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. I believe that raising the minimum wage is not only a moral obligation, and economic obligation, but also an obligation to your students. My full testimony is below:

Montgomery County Council Public Hearing on Bill 28-17
County Minimum Wage – Amount – Annual Adjustment

Testimony by: William Cook
Sep. 26, 2017

Hi, My name is Bill Cook. I’ve lived in montgomery county for over 20 years. I’m a small business owner and I am here to testify in support of raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour.

There is, of course, a moral obligation for a livable wage– anything less is a form of wage slavery. And there’s also an economic obligation–in fact, the department of labor concludes that raising the minimum wage can stimulate our economy.

But I’m here tonight to talk to you specifically about the obligation we have to our students–and how raising the minimum wage can help struggling students in montgomery county.

This council’s voting record shows your commitment to education. You’ve increased the school budget in an effort to make sure that our educators have the resources they need, to reduce class sizes and shrink the achievement gap. I applaud your commitment to education, but these actions are only part of the solution.

As you know, many of our struggling students live in lower income areas of the county. And It seems clear that economics plays a meaningful role in student performance. A child’s first teacher is his or her parents. So, it’s no surprise that when we ask teachers, “what’s the most important factor in a student’s success?” They tell us that it’s the student’s home life.

Let me repeat that: Teachers tell us that the key to a student’s success is the student’s homelife.

What kind of home life do some of our students have when their parents are working 2 to 3 jobs, 60-80 hours a week, struggling to put clothes on their back and food on the table.

Do these same parents have time to help their kids with their homework? Or, encourage them academically? Or create a vibrant PTA or become community leaders themselves? Probably not. And that doesn’t only hurt that one student. When one student is struggling it puts greater demands on the teacher which can affect the other students around them. It creates a domino effect that alters the entire classroom…the school…and our community.

If Montgomery County is truly committed to seeing every student succeed, we must support working families and their children. And so I plead with you, show us once again your commitment to education, let us, together, show the rest of maryland and ourselves, that we, in montgomery county, are leaders – that nothing is more important to us than a child’s future. Let us raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour and help the students of montgomery county. Thank you.

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