Legislative Alert: H. R. 1 Funding Cuts to STEM Education, Special Education Scheduled to Take Effect March 18, 2011
UPDATED as of 2:09 pm PT 3/3/11 (Originally posted on K12NewsNetwork.com):
Democratic Senators, many of them women, pushed back on House GOP budget cuts proposed in H.R. 1--naming it as an all out War on Women (and Kids). This is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.
UPDATED: as of 8:22 pm 3/1/11:
Education Week reports that today the House passed a two week extension for stopgap funding for all federal agencies. Given that the original deadline was March 4, 2011, it now appears final fiscal year budgeting must be approved by March 18, 2011.
Now $4 billion in education cuts were proposed on top of $5 billion in earlier cuts to education. Areas still on the chopping block:
The measure also includes significant cuts to education programs that would extend beyond the two-week period, including entirely scrapping the $250 million Striving Readers program, the $88 million Small Learning Communities Program, and the $66 million Even Start program. It also would get rid of the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships, or LEAP, program, financed at $64 million.
Democratic Senators Tom Harkin (IA) and Patty Murray (WA) voiced dissatisfaction with the budget's priorities. They've signalled they may try to reapportion or remove certain cuts in order to preserve early reading programs, for example.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Click here and INSIST THAT YOUR SENATOR OPPOSE HR 1, AND INSTEAD MAKE CUTS ELSEWHERE AND/OR RAISE REVENUE
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and a coalition of over 85 pre-school, K-12, and higher education groups (Committee for Education Funding) strongly oppose $11 billion in education cuts in the recently passed H.R. 1 bill that is now being debated in the Senate.
The NSTA points out that our already middling stature in science/technology/engineering/math student achievement internationally will be further weakened by drastic cuts to STEM education if the House bill becomes law after Senate approval. Here's what's on the block:
- $180 million, Math and Science Partnership Program, Department of Education
- $166 million, National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources directorate
- $693 million, Title I funding for services assisting as many as 957,00 at-risk youth, and eliminating 9,000 education jobs
- $557 million, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) federal safety net funds to states responsible for educating 324,000 children with disabilities, and potential elimination of 7,000 jobs
- $5.6 billion, Pell Grants that would educate 1.5 million college students
The Committee for Education Funding also identifies these proven, successful programs that will be eliminated or significantly cut as a result of HR 1 becoming law:
- $1.1 billion from Head Start
- 70 education programs including Title I, School improvement grants, teacher quality state grants, after school, literacy, math and science partnerships, education technology, school leadership, arts in education, parent resource centers, school counseling, career and technical education, Pell grants, supplemental education opportunity grants, LEAP, aid to minority-serving institutions, TRIO, GEAR-UP, Byrd honors scholarships, higher education teacher quality partnerships, statewide data systems and regional educational labs.
All of these cuts have the net effect of narrowing the curriculum, crowding classes with too many students per teacher, and denying access to education for the disabled and working poor/middle classes. At the same time, "according to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school enrollment is projected to increase by 8 percent and higher education enrollment by 9 percent between 2009 and 2018."
If you are affected by any of these cuts--if your child is unable to receive crucial services or cannot attend a program they were previously enrolled in as a result of these draconian budget cuts--please visit our legislative action page at POPVOX.com to raise authentic grassroots voices of parents and students who oppose H.R. 1's budget cuts.
Moreover, it's time to change the frame: instead of unending middle class sacrifices, we should demand that we de-fund what has become a permanent war and demand that we close corporate tax loopholes so billion-dollar corporations pay their fair share.
Three suggestions for how we can close the federal budget gap:
1) remember how in December, 2010, the GOP fought tooth and nail to extend the income tax breaks for the top 5% of earners in the U.S., instead of letting the Bush tax breaks expire? Well, repeal those GOP extensions fof tax cuts for the rich.
2) end oil subsidies to save billions of dollars. If Exxon Mobil keeps enjoying "record quarterly profits," then they can get by without a government handout.
3) financial transaction tax on big "bankstas" and investment houses of $.005 per transaction. That's right, half a penny. Again, a source of $100 billion. Other countries around the world do it, why don't we?
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