Sequester: What it Means for Education
It’s safe to say that you’re living under a rock if you haven’t heard the term “sequestration” in recent months. Especially if you live in the world of education, as we do here at C. Blohm & Associates. We’ve been keeping a close eye on this critical issue, and how these spending cuts will impact students, teachers and schools across the country.
If congress fails to reach an agreement before March 1, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts – known as the sequester – will go into effect. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “these cuts have real consequences for real people – especially teachers, young children in low-income families, and students with special needs.” And although most of the school cuts wouldn’t take place until the 2013-14 academic year, school districts are already feeling the repercussions as they budget for September.
Business Insider reports that the cuts will roll back Education Department funding to below what it was in 2004. But since 2004, the number of students enrolled in public pre-K-12 and all post-secondary education programs has gone up by 5.8 million, and the cost of providing public K-12 schooling increased 36 percent, according to a recent report from the National Education Association (NEA).
At a White House briefing this week, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan warned of $725 million in cuts to Title I, and $600 million to special education. Although critics say that he has discretion within his agency to mitigate the harmful effects of these cuts, Duncan disagreed, according to Education Week. “There’s nowhere to go” except to cut Title I and special education funding, said Duncan, which together comprise $25 billion of the department’s budget. “You’re hurting poor kids or you’re hurting special needs.”
On the higher education front, the biggest threat appears to be in the area of research funding. An article from University Business states that the sequester includes $6.8 billion in planned cuts to various agencies that support higher education research and development: the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture. The NIH and NSF are slated to lose $1.6 billion and $400 million respectively.
For more information about sequestration and its impact on the education market, see these frequently asked questions compiled by Education Week. To view how this will affect K-12 education funding in your state, see this state-by-state analysis from The Washington Post, by way of EdSurge. Please share insightful articles or analysis that you come across regarding this topic – the more we all know, the better.