Just as US education outcomes have begun showing statistical improvement, the new budget cuts passed by the House and awaiting Senate approval, are an assault on education at all levels. The long term impact of these cuts on the K-12 levels will be felt especially by lower income students and families and underrepresented groups.
Higher Education is also targeted for cuts, including but not limited to institutional improvement, research, and innovative technology programs. State colleges and universities, as well as minority-serving institutions, will be most impacted. The $9.2 billion in cuts represent a 13.5% drop from the U.S. Department of Education’s 2017 budget of $68.2 billion.
The following are examples of the key programs to be impacted, with deep cuts for K-12 and higher education:
- Programs for disadvantaged children to pay for school choice, including Title I funding that pays for services for low-income students, will see $1 billion in cuts to pay for a new school-choice program.
- Programs for innovation and competition will be cut in order to direct those funds to school voucher incentives. The existing program called Investing in Innovation, which is geared to assisting states experimenting with new educational approaches, would instead encourage states to create or expand school voucher programs.
- ThePublic Service Loan Program and federally subsidized student loans would be eliminated, and students would have to pay interest on the money they borrowed from the federal government, even while in school.
- Many other initiatives such as the Alaska Native Education, comprehensive and innovative literacy, enrichment and strengthening of instruction, preschool development grants, and international education and foreign language programs, both domestic and overseas, are on the chopping block for over $3 billion.
- In other cuts, low-income students and their families who depend on the federal government for help accessing healthcare, food, and shelter will see a budget cut of $193 billion in food stamp dollars. This will also have an impact on education and learning.
It is crucial that we convey to our representatives what we believe is essential to assure that our schools, students, and teachers are protected and can continue to deliver top level education and a chance at upward mobility for all students. Knowing what is in jeopardy and how it may affect you and future generations is the first step. Making your voice known to your representatives would be the next.