Earlier today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified on Capitol Hill about the impact of budget cuts called sequestration. Sequestration would mandate across-the-board cuts to the federal budget that will go into effect in January if Congress doesn’t act. While a lot of attention has been given to impeding cuts to defense, Secretary Duncan testified about the impact the cuts would on all government services and programs.
“Education, defense, public safety and all other federal agencies would indiscriminately cut services that are essential to every state and community,” Duncan said.
The Secretary said that education is the cornerstone of our country’s economy and essential for our military preparedness. Duncan noted that 75 percent of young Americans are unable to enlist in the military because they have either failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record, or are physically unfit.
While most schools won’t feel the impact of across-the-board cuts until the fall of 2013, the lack of federal funds would be felt deep throughout the country.
- Title I funding would be cut by $1.1 billion, cutting off funding to more than 4,000 schools serving an estimated 1.8 million disadvantaged students. The jobs of more than 15,000 teachers and aides would be at risk.
- Funding for special education would be reduced by $900 million. That could translate into the layoffs of more than 10,000 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and other support to 6.6 million children with disabilities.
- Up to almost 100,000 low-income children would be denied access to the Head Start program, which is critical to preparing them for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Duncan noted that the Obama Administration stands ready to work with Congress on preventing sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The President’s plan includes more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction. It maintains the Budget Control Act caps, and calls for significant, yet targeted, cuts in discretionary spending.
Click here to read Secretary Duncan’s testimony.