LONG ISLAND, NY--(Marketwire - October 23, 2007) - The days are shorter. The weather is cooler. The kids are back in school. And so the routine has begun again: getting the kids up in time to eat breakfast, get dressed and collect their backpacks, papers and projects before catching the school bus. As Yogi Berra might observe, it's almost like déjà vu all over again -- except that things will be different this year because our children are another year older. And it's not only that they'll be studying new subjects, memorizing new facts and learning from new experiences.

Although we associate school most often with readin', writin' and 'rithmatic, students have many, rich non-academic experiences at school, whose effects are critical for our democratic society. "From its earliest days, public education has been the way to pass along knowledge and skills that our society deems necessary and to enable students to become contributing citizens," said Barbara Barosa, President of the Riverhead Central Faculty Association and Chair of the Long Island Presidents' Council, an association consisting of presidents from many of LI's public teachers' unions. "Public school students learn important subjects and skills that make us all productive and successful," continued Rose Stein, President of the Rockville Centre Teachers' Association.

Public education is prototypically American. Equal access to solid, free education is guaranteed to every student. In addition, public schools provide options to allow students to explore their interests and talents, whether in athletics, in clubs, in music or in community service.

"The large number of Long Island public school students who are Intel Science Talent Search semi-finalists and finalists each year are evidence of the quality of education our students receive," added Loretta Powell, President of the Connetquot Teachers' Association. "Furthermore, students who do well in our public high schools have all the same post-secondary choices as students who attend private schools, as the number of public school students accepted to Ivy League and other 'first-tier' universities demonstrates."

A quality public school education is vital to the Long Island community and its future and should be embraced. Despite chronic inadequate funding, public schools continue to find innovative and practical ways to provide children with knowledge, skills, training and values that they need to meet the future and lead our country. "We are committed to our students and are proud of our students and our public schools," Barosa added.

Contact Information: Alyssa Nightingale 631-367-8599