Commentary: WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. House appropriations subcommittee took the first step towards funding the federal department of education by publicly releasing its budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. On Thursday, the subcommittee will vote on a bill that contains draconian cuts to Title II programs for professional development, class-size reduction and after-school programs. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement.
“The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. notably stated that budgets are not just financial documents; they are moral documents. He went on to say that, a nation that spends more on its military than on social programs is approaching spiritual death. Sadly, the House appropriations budget reflects the misguided priorities of some in Washington.
“This budget is 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.
“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.
“We urge Congress to reverse these cuts and, instead, invest in what parents and educators know works for students. Classes small enough for one-on-one attention, modern and inviting classrooms, support services like nutrition, health, and after school programs, and a well-rounded curriculum, This is what every student deserves and what every parents wants for her or his child.
“This is exactly why Congress needs to reach a bipartisan agreement to raise the unrealistic budget caps that are preventing much-needed investments in our students and public schools.”