by Colleen Flaherty
Watch out, Congress! More than 12,000 people have now signed the Kids Not Cuts Pledge to tell Congress to stand up for children and working families by protecting what’s most important to them in this ongoing budget battle.
If Congress doesn’t come to a budget agreement before the end of the year and the country goes over the fiscal cliff, deep across-the-board cuts, including a $5 billion cut from education, would immediately follow. Educators and friends of public education from around the country have shared their stories with Education Votes about how these deep cuts would hurt their already underfunded schools.
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The cuts and tax increases would hit students, middle class families and educators hard.
- Services will be cut or eliminated for more than 9 million students, including 1.8 million students living in poverty and receiving Title 1 services.
- 69,000 students in our neediest schools will suffer with cuts to School Improvement Grants.
- Students with disabilities will receive fewer services due to a drop in funding to 2006 levels, despite a 27 percent rise in costs since then.
- Rural education will be cut by $15 million, even though rural schools have absorbed a 70 percent increase in school enrollment.
- Nearly 80,000 education jobs will be lost at early childhood, elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels.
- The average middle-class family will see a $2,000 tax increase.
Brea Wiblemo, a teacher from Glencoe, Minn., has already seen devastating budget cuts affect her school. She has seen classrooms put in closets, storage rooms and hallways due to lack of space.
“Cuts to education would put more burdens on tax payers at the local level to pick up the slack. I worry that poorer communities like mine would worsen while wealthier communities would manage. This would deepen the achievement gap in our nation,” said Wiblemo.
Pam Thurman from Decatur, Ala. works at a community college where they’ve had three pay cuts in the last five years with overcrowded classrooms and rising tuition.
“All the states keep cutting education to balance their budget. Who is going to pay? Our children and their education.”
Tiffany McEachern is an inner-city school teacher in North Carolina who fears for the future of education for her students and the future of her profession.
“If cuts are made to education, we can see massive job loss and decreasing student standardized test scores due to lack of resources, increased class sizes, and a lack of the needed teachers to support all students with varying abilities. You can also expect to see highly qualified professionals leaving the profession to seek employment that will compensate fairly,” said McEachern.
Christine Preston has been a special education teacher for 14 years in East Stroudsburg, Penn.
“If we go over the cliff, the district won’t be able to pay the aides, teachers will be furloughed, classes will get even larger and my students, among the most vulnerable, will have less academic and emotional support. It saddens me to think what will become of them.”
Sign the pledge today and tell Congress that investing in our children is investing in our future.