Sequestration Would Hurt Students, Teachers and Schools

Duncan on Face the NationIf Congress fails to reach an agreement before March 1, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts—also known as the sequester—will go into effect. The cuts will have real consequences for real people—especially teachers, young children in low-income families, and students with special needs.

Earlier this month, Secretary Arne Duncan testified before the Senate about the negative effects of sequestration. “When the cuts hit, they will hurt the most vulnerable students worst,” Duncan said during his testimony.

Duncan went on to explain that sequestration would cut Title I by $725 million, affecting 1.2 million disadvantaged students, and risk the jobs of about 10,000 teachers and aides. Other cuts include $600 million in special education, requiring states and districts to cover the cost of approximately 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff. In Head Start, some 70,000 students could be kicked out. “Doing that to our most vulnerable students is economically foolish and morally indefensible,” said Duncan.

President Obama has provided a plan to avoid these cuts using a balanced approach, and the White House has also released state-by-state reports showing how sequester will impact jobs and middle class families.

During a Sunday morning appearance on “Face the Nation,” Duncan noted that “We don’t have to be in this situation. This is not rocket science. We could solve this tomorrow if folks had the will to compromise, to come to the table and do the right thing for children and to try and keep growing the middle class.”




  1. Here’s a new idea. Let’s tell the truth about the sequestration. It is not cutting spending. It is a reduction in increased spending. This means that spending will be increased, but not as much as before sequestration took effect.

  2. How can this be a strong a country when our congress keep weaking it by taking away our childrens future. Which is Educationing them. How can the children be our future if they have no education. What is going to become of this country? I guess we become like the countries we set out to defend. Soon some country might wind up defending our country. Because our children are not being educated. because congress and our local government keep cutting out their education.

    • Betty,
      I can see you are passionate about education! What a great thing to see! I agree with you that education should be forefront in our country, but I’m not necessarily sure it should be a main priority for the government. I think parents should be more concerned with the education of their children. I know people who work in public schools who say that the parents they work with could care less about their children’s education, and the parents think it is the sole job of the teacher to educate their child. But you know, those people had those children and it’s their right and responsibility to care for those children and to HELP educate those children. Do you know how much would change if parents and caretakers would simply make that a priority in their kids’ lives? If they just sat down with them for a few minutes at night and on the weekend, practicing reading, math, etc.? I could see benefit coming from government support and encouragement of parents in this endeavor.

  3. My question, is this be a great country without education? Without education our country will be no better than the counties the United States help to defend. We keep saying our children are our future if we keep cutting their education what furture will the United States have. Less education weaking our country everyday,there is more stealing, murders, abuse, just a country full of angry people.
    Education builds postive thinking, and building jobs, and a means for life. Our congress take away the very thing that our country needs.”(Education)”. How can we be a strong country when our leaders are taking away the things that makes us strong.

  4. There is no constitutional basis for a Department of Education. It needs to be abolished at the earliest opportunity. The employees can be moved to other governmental agencies through attrition.
    Their budget for 2013 is $69.8 billion according to the sources I found. They employ appx 5,000 people. The HQ for the ED is in what appears to be a seven story building located in DC. A picture of the building can be accessed with the following link: I see hundreds of windows in the building. My assumption is that each window represents an office occupied by a “big shot” making $100,000-$250,000 per year plus benefits. What do these people do to educate my children / grandchildren in the state of Michigan? I have served for 37 years in the military (Active, Reserve and National Guard). Based on my personal observations, there is not a governmental office whose budget cannot and should not be cut. I have seen waste, fraud and abuse on a massive scale. I have relatives working for various governmental agencies that have shared with me stories about how much work is actually accomplished by the “Average” government employee. I know there are many exceptions, my wife works for a university and routinely brings home work for which she is not compensated. I work for a construction company (non-union). We make our vacation plans at home on our own time, not at work. We check our personal e-mail at home, not at work. We conduct all our personal business at home, not on our employer’s time. My best estimate is that the taxpayer is getting only about 80% value for our money, roughly 6 1/2 hours of productivity for 8 hours pay. This has got to stop. Sequestration has not gone far enough.

  5. sequester harms federal employees in more than one way(loss of pay/furlough). What about student loans??? Is there a plan or conversation about how to assist federal employees with student loans that are going to be furloughed?forgivness/reduced payments/extended time/etc…

  6. If this is NOT the truth about sequestration, where can it be found. I would like to know what the concrete truth is, I’m not sure if anyone knows. I currently work within the government (DoD), we come to work here EVERY SINGLE DAY, hear rumors about what will be cut, but there are never any concrete answers on specifics. Governmental politics is playing with so many people’s livelihood. Not to mention ALL of these decisions about funding are being made by people who do not understand what it is like to actually be in the working class. Something definitely needs to be done. My answer is and always will be start the sequestration in Congress, not the people who actually work hard everyday.


  7. I have worked with our youth since 1977 as a physical education and health ed. teacher. The youth of today are suffering more now than when I first began working with them. The age of modern technology; parents if there are 2 of them are hard pressed to make ends meet; the fear factor in most neighborhoods does not allow many urban children to go out and play. The few are doing the work of the many. Those in power seem to either look away or could care less. Something must be done, now and not later! Instead of making cuts to schools, we need to turn the pther direction. We must decrease the number of children in every class and provide 2 staff members per class. Children need our attention before they end up incarcerated as adults or worse-dead. Help us and stop hurting us!

  8. In my experience in career coaching, I have found that money management is a skill that can be mastered by every adult of moderate intellect. So I am confused as to why the decrease by 2.6 percent, in the increase of our annual budget, would matter at all. There is no way that there is not enough Pork in the barrel to trim the fat a bit. Start acting like grown ups and stop trying to intimidate the taxpayer into believing you need more government money. Our Federal Budget is more than most Nation’s GDPs. Stop the madness. Furthermore, State Budgets are more responsible for the level of public school funding and employment than the Federal Gov’t’s component, so why are we pointing at State responsibilities when we talk about trying to control the Federal Budget? The Federal Government was not designed to work efficiently at the local level. That is why it doesn’t work on the local level. Its time for restraint with a $17 Trillion Debt, $7 Trillion of it created under this administration.

  9. We really should try to work together. We have become spoiled and entitled to so much compared to our parents and grandparents. Our children can be educated if we all work together and make them our priorities. Prospective on what is important will guide our future generations to make smarter choices. Not every child needs to go to college and spend a small fortune to only end up highly educated/over educated without the work skills to survive the good and bad times our economy will continue facing. We need skilled labor and other talents to fuel America to re-develop a hardworking workforce to make the engines turn. Yes, our society and economy has changed, but we still need to invest in basic skilled workers to keep our manufacturing jobs in America. We still need the majority of our children to be educated in the basic reading, writing and math as well as communication.

  10. More lies from our Liberal media. Most of the Federal Government Agencies could be in half and America would be better off. Here are just a few agencies that need to be slashed Dept. of Transportation,commerce, energy, BLM< EPA, Forest Service, GSA, and probably 20 more.

  11. All the “cuts” are merely cuts to the INCREASE in spending! For my budget, if I was given only a smaller raise from 2012 to 2013, I think I could figure out how to survive. This government is lying through inference, and the media seems to be complicit in all of this. Again, these “cuts” are to planned INCREASES in spending. This is ridiculous.
    But of course, the government will decide to cut in areas that will hurt its own people so that the government can insist on being given more money. Great.

  12. It’s all a bunch of hype were talking a 2.5% cut to out of control spending. So why all the doom and gloom? Sure glad I din’t run right out buy a bunker because I wouldn’t see or hear the birds chirping and the bright sunny day out there!
    ummm…I think I heard just that from the Obamanator himself after he and his friends jammed Obama care down everyones throats.

    • You have a short memory. We were attacked as I recall on 9-11 by an enemy of which you have no concept. I have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other parts of the middle east. I have lived with these people for years. Both wars were necessary. If you check the US Constitution you will find several references regarding the Federal Governments responsibility to defend the nation, I defy you to find anything that suggests that the Feds should be involved in Education. Even the most backward states in this country have a handful of smart people who can run the education systems in their states. With the exception of the military (which has major problems as well) there isn’t a Federal governmental agency that has ever solved a problem. They just keep getting bigger and more expensive.

    • You will have to wait and see until the end of Friday. Education is on the chopping block, most likely across the board cuts, especially to grant programs.

  13. Maybe government employees should give up some of their salary that they use to send their kids to private schools and use it to send mine to preschool.

    • I’m a government employee and I will have to give up 20% of my pay staring in April if there is no agreement.

      My kids dont go to private schools………..

  14. Why does these cuts seem to hurt the average, every-day working man and woman, teens, and kids. Why are “we the people”, the average low-wage or middle-wage person always being affected by these cuts. The low and middle class always seem to take the blows of what government dishes out. Why are these cuts affecting us only and not the US Congress, the White House, the Senate and the like. No disrespect to our leaders in any way, but cut some of your salaries and lay some of the congressmen off so you can feel what is is like to get a dose of US citizens “medicine”. PEACE

    • I agree 100%. Most of our congressmen are wealthy and have never been without. Greedy, greedy, geedy. They should be ashamed of taking so much and giving so little.

  15. Hey Duncan, why don’t you quit campaigning for the president and worry about the school system that is going to collapse under the weight of 100% AYP passing rates next year. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a first year teacher to figure out that your lack of leadership in addressing NCLB Title I assessment criteria is going to destroy what’s left of our schools in America – NEXT YEAR!!!. But, instead of trying to balance all the bad press about sex offender teachers by YOUR main stream media with success stories and what hard working teachers and administrators are doing in the trenches, you are on television shows LYING outright about teachers getting pink slips. What a waste of a suit you are. A quick fact check proved what you said was false and purely political.
    Way to be a champion for the education system….way to be a champion for the students and teachers in this country…way to be a waste of space….nicely done.


  17. This is exactly why we should not give our state funds to the Federal government for “safe keeping.” We should be keeping these types of funds with the state to pay for state programs, as per the 17 Enumerated Powers in the Constitution. There is no reason as to why DC should be taking money from Florida, and giving it to California because “they need it more.” Your money should be going to pay for your kids in your state, nothing more.

  18. We need to quite throwing money away subsidizing other countries who do not want us there and do not appreciate it. Bring that money home, and invest in building up our own country. We have a tremendous need here in the US. There is a tremendous need to upgrade our own infrastructure. Surely this would create jobs here at home. Think of what could have been done here instead of squandering all of those dollars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is still ongoing. How about cutting the funding going to other countries first. What happened to taking care of our own needs at home.

  19. This is nothing compared to what I fear we will be facing over the next decade. I believe we as Americans have elected a government we deserve. We are overspending at home. We have a government that overspends. This has gone on for decades because we want a lot of stuff. If the “greatest generation” could see us now, I believe they would call us “spoiled”. I fear we are headed to a true economic collapse…one that will make the so-called “great recession” seem like very good times. I very much hope I am wrong. I know I like living in a wealthy nation of prosperity. But, I think this potential economic collapse will be absolute and lead to the disunion of our great nation and radically alter our way of life as we know it. I hope I am wrong…but I feel our society is reaching a breaking point, and we may be blinding ourselves to this reality, because it doesn’t feel good to think about it.

    • Members of the greatest generation are some of the greatest beneficiaries of some of the largest federal programs — Medicare, Social Security, Veterans Administration programs…I could go on. My point is that many of the groups protesting the loudest about “big spending government” are some of the biggest recipients of these benefits.

  20. “Ask not what your Country can do for you but what you can do for your Country?”
    Country is … our children, our families, and our jobs.
    What is Congress to our Country?

  21. 2% of what we were going to get will not kill us . We can cut back stop wasteing so much and conserve. Get that buget we have been waiting on for so many years . Get some one who can lead instead of the scare me I’m so tired of that.I know how to live on budget and live on what I made , we all need to .

  22. The future of this country depends on the education of it’s children. Without investing in the biggest asset this country has, public education, our children have no chance. Before any company makes an automatic, arbitrary cut it must consider the cause and effect of such action. I guess the biggest company we have, the US Government, just can’t figure it out !!

  23. This is not the way to run the economy of the richest country in the world. Budget decisions that will impact on lives of ordinary Americans should be bipartisan and depoliticised. The government should be able to create a temporary (Buffer Budget) to avert the damaging consequences of sequester…….that seems to confront any newly elected government.

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