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.”