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By Amanda Litvinov / photo by Ron Cogswell
The FY 2018 education funding bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee recently is a frightening read in its disregard for the welfare of the millions of students who attend public schools, and the educators who teach in them.
The House spending bill:
- Cuts education spending by $2.4 billion.
- Completely eliminates Title II (within ESSA), which funds class-size reduction, professional development, and more.
- Slashes 21st Century Community Learning Centers that provide afterschool services to students most in need.
- Fails to increase funding for Title I, despite record numbers of low-income students in need of the services it provides.
Although the House bill cuts far less from education than the Trump-DeVos budget proposal, it would still devastate several education programs. Without a doubt, those cuts will degrade efforts to reach the full potential within the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and assist students most in need.
Utah teacher and NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia called the House spending bill “terrible for students and neighborhood public schools across the country.”
“If enacted, it will deprive millions of students of opportunities by eliminating funding that will result in nearly 8,500 educators losing their jobs, slashing funding for class-size reduction programs, cutting funding for after-school programs that serve the students most in need, and limiting or eliminating professional development opportunities for nearly 2.5 million educators,” Garcia said.
“As a result, parents can expect larger class sizes and students can expect to see fewer opportunities to connect one-on-one with qualified, caring teachers.”
Cutting off all funding for Title II, Part A would occur during ESSA’s second year of implementation. In effect, the House cuts would shift the costs of professional development, class size reduction, educator recruitment and retention, mentoring, induction, and other educator supports to states and local education agencies.
Click here to see a table that illustrates the loss of federal dollars and jobs by state.
Congress tied its own hands with senseless and untenable budget caps that have resulted in wholly inadequate funding for critical programs like education. Yet the spending bill passed by the House actually violates the Budget Control Act in order to increase defense spending to $640 billion, far exceeding the President’s request.
The budget debate is expected to heat up after the August recess. The next fiscal year begins on October 1.