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News Release

Pa. State Budget's Impact on Children and Families Focus of Policy Summit

Program to examine Pa. state budget impact on low-income children and families

Sharon WardBethlehem, Pa., February 16, 2012--Moravian College will host The Family Policy Summit where state policy experts, Sharon Ward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center will discuss the effects the Pennsylvania State budget will have on children and families. Sponsored by the Department of Political Science and Children's Coalition of the Lehigh Valley, the presentation will be held on Thursday, March 1, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Prosser Auditorium, Haupert Union Building.

As part Moravian?s IN FOCUS theme, the speakers will concentrate how the proposed 2013 budget will affect the needs of children with a particular concern for those in low income families. Topics will include: Early Education, K-12 Education, and Child and Family Services.

Sharon Ward has worked as an advocate on behalf of children, consumers, and the environment for more than 20 years. She was the director for advocacy and child care policy for Public Citizens for Children and Youth and has worked as a community organizer and issue advocate for the New York Public Interest Research Group and Citizen Action of New York. In 1989, she was elected with a slate of reform candidates to the Albany City Council, where she served for eight years, and chaired the Finance and Environmental Committees. At PBPC, Ward plays a vital role in educating policymakers, community groups, and the public on state budget and tax policies. She has authored numerous reports and policy briefs, regularly delivers testimony on policy matters to legislative committees, and is often sought out by reporters as an expert on state policy matters. Ward also has worked with various coalitions to advocate for health care and education reforms, to support a fair and equitable tax system, and to advance policies to reduce poverty.

Cowell served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for twenty-four years until 1998, where he served as the majority or minority chair of the House Committee on Education for twelve years. He also served for twelve years as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and for twenty years as a board member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Ron is a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education, and the board of directors of Communities in Schools of Pennsylvania. He is on advisory boards for the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Parent Information Resource Center, and Public Education Network. He also was a member of the Governor's Commission for Children and Families and the Governor's Commission on Preparing America's Teachers. He was a board member of Pittsburgh Children's Museum, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Gateway to the Arts, NEED, and the Family Support Policy Board in Allegheny County.

IN FOCUS is an innovative program to promote in-depth examination of complex issues from multidisciplinary perspectives. Through IN FOCUS the members of the Moravian College community engage in analysis and activism regarding important challenges facing human beings and the world in the 21st century. Four issues have been identified as central to the Lehigh Valley, the U.S. and the globe, including poverty and inequality, sustainability, health care, and war and peace. Each year academic and co-curricular activity is centered on one of these challenges. The focus is on poverty and inequality this academic year.

Prosser Auditorium is located on Moravian?s Main Street Campus in the Haupert Union Building. This event is free of charge and is open to the public. Anyone who anticipates needing any type of accommodation or who has questions about the physical access provided should contact Kathi Roman at Katro@moravian.edu or 610 625-7880.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Moravian partners with students to build a strong foundation for their future. Visit the College's Web site at www.moravian.edu.