Federal budget inflicts more pain on public education
Published June 2011 Voice
Yogi Berra might say, “Déjà vu all over again.’’ What is happening in Washington, D.C. pretty much mirrors what is happening in Harrisburg.
Compounding the problems the state funding hit is causing for public education in Pennsylvania is a federal budget deal this spring that also includes painful cuts affecting students and schools.
Education, health, and labor bore half of the $38 billion in spending cuts under the continuing resolution agreed upon by President Obama and congressional Republicans to keep the federal government running for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The education cuts are particularly pronounced in programs affecting the neediest students, such as Title I and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Reductions in Medicaid will also take away needed services to some students and their families.
Yet, at the same time, taxpayers’ dollars will be used to fund private school vouchers for the District of Columbia despite the program’s lack of success and opposition from key government leaders in the city.
“It is shortsighted to use scarce taxpayer dollars to fund an unsuccessful voucher program, while cutting funds for important education services, Medicaid, and other programs that deliver essential services that students need,’’ said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Students should be a top priority, not an afterthought.’’
NEA-PACE does recommend congressional candidates and offers financial support. Information on contributing to PSEA-PACE can be found in the special insert in this issue.