Today, March 1st, has been a day of panic and frustration. Nobody wants sequestration, an across the board, $85 billion, federal spending cut (with few exempt programs) in FY13 to occur. It was designed to be such a horrible outcome for both Republicans and Democrats that Congress would choose to work through their differences and agree to a budget that would ultimately reduce our deficit.
Today, I joined colleagues on the Hill to share information from our coalition, Committee for Education Funding (www.CEF.org), with Congress members. Along with Emily Rohlffs, of the National Association of Elementary Principals, we personally spoke to 44 offices in the House of Representatives today and shared state by state data on some of the harmful cuts to education across the country. The Department of Education would lose $2.5 billion (Pell grants are exempt from the first year cut). In addition, Head Start would be cut by $398 million, which means cutting services to 70,000 low income families. This will be the largest cut EVER to education programs.
Here are a few more examples of education cuts that will likely make you frustrated if you aren’t already:
- Title I would be cut by $726 million, reducing instructional support to almost 1.2 million educationally disadvantaged children and eliminating almost 10,100 educator jobs.
- IDEA special education K-12 funding would be cut by $579 million affecting almost 252,000 students with disabilities and eliminating another 7,000 educator jobs.
- Student financial aid programs such as Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Work Study would be cut by $86 million, blocking nearly 33,000 students from campus jobs and denying grants to almost 71,000 needy students.
- TRIO, GEAR UP and other higher education programs will be cut by a combined $127 million.
- Career, Technical and Adult Education would be cut by $87 million, eliminating services to 624,000 high school and community college students and 128,000 adult learners.
So, what happens now? Congress needs to hear from YOU so they understand the detrimental impacts these cuts are having on your life and on your community. Congress can still act to reverse the impacts of sequestration. But it will take an old-fashion, honest, bi-partisan compromise. For the rest of March, Congress needs to ensure the government doesn’t shut down come March 27th when our current Continuing Resolution (CR), which is funding programs at FY2012 levels, expires. The House of Representatives are scheduled put forth a budget bill the week of March 11th and the Senate will likely follow suit the next week. They will likely be looking to pass another CR for the rest of 2013.