By Mary Kusler November 7, 2012 11:16 am
Sequestration. What does this word even mean? Starting in January, there will be $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts (sequestration) over 10 years to reduce the deficit. This is on top of $1.5 trillion in cuts that have already happened. Cuts are split equally between defense and domestic programs.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should care:
1. Budget cuts, the kind that don’t ever heal.
If the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts kick in on January 2 then education funding would drop to pre-2003 levels, even though public schools now have 5.4 million more students since then.
All federal education programs, including Title 1, IDEA, Head Start and English language learner grants, would face a $4.8 billion reduction in 2013.
2. This really hurts our kids.
More than 9 million students would lose essential services.
Head Start cuts would eliminate slots for almost 80,000 young children in early education programs.
Nearly $1 billion in cuts to IDEA would impact almost more than a half a million students with disabilities.
Education programs for homeless children would be cut by $5.3 million.
School Improvement Grants would be cut by $44 million, hurting 67,000 students in our neediest schools.
3. Education jobs are at stake.
More than 78,000 jobs across pre-K-12 and higher education would be eliminated.
These across-the-board cuts will cost up to 2.1 million jobs when you factor in the professions outside of education.
4. It’s about fairness.
Instead of going ahead with $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget cuts over 10 years, which will kill jobs and hurt families, Congress should, at a minimum, end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2%. This will raise roughly $1 trillion over 10 years, marking a major step closer to meeting the needed savings.
5. Struggling families need our help.
Federal spending was already cut by $1.5 trillion in the first round of deficit reduction in 2011. Sixty percent of the cuts came from programs important to our families such as such as education, food safety, environmental protection and law enforcement. We cannot afford more cuts to education, job training and safety, medical research, child care, and transportation programs that protect the middle class and low-income families and communities.
Now, what can you do? We need to make sure Congress takes a balanced approach that makes sure everyone, including the richest 2% and corporations, plays by the same rules and that doesn’t further cut education and other priorities. It’s time to stop putting the burden for deficit reduction on the shoulders of kids and working families.
Mary Kusler is the government relations director of the National Education Association.
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