Posts Tagged ‘education’

The Young Politica: Students Should Brace for the Sequester

Once again, we’ve waited until the last minute to try and fix our fiscal problems. This time, it’s the sequester that will go into effect on March 1st unless Congress acts. sequester

If the sequester goes into effect, about one trillion dollars of federal spending will get cut—half of the cuts going towards defense ($42.7 billion). These cuts may cause furloughs in defense sectors (military, airport security) and other cuts may leave many teachers out of jobs.

About $3 billion of sequester cuts will go towards education. According to the National Education Association the sequester will result in:

  • Services cut or eliminated for millions of students.
  • Funding for children living in poverty, special education, and Head Start slashed by billions.
  • Ballooning class sizes.
  • Elimination of after-school programs.
  • Decimation of programs for our most vulnerable—homeless students, English language learners, and high-poverty, struggling schools.
  • Slashing of financial aid for college students.
  • Loss of tens of thousands of education jobs—at early childhood, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels.

However, the education cuts can be made smarter in a smarter way.

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Warped Priorities

The headline and precis on the e-mail I received just now punches me in the face:

FY09 STATE BUDGET CUTS FORCE ASU TO CAP ENROLLMENT,
FRESHMAN APPLICATIONS CLOSE MARCH 1, FIVE MONTHS EARLY

Budget cuts scale Poly and West campuses down to one college each;
Four dozen academic programs to be closed

Additional state budget cuts in FY10 could result in closing two entire campuses

I’m in Arizona for a few weeks, teaching a short course in “Women, Power, and Politics” at Arizona State University. Though this is not a regular gig for me and I have joked that I’m earning almost enough after taxes to pay for our car rental while we are here, I feel intimately involved–actually sick at my stomach–over the short-sighted budget priorities of the right-wing dominated state legislature and the new Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who took over after the state’s popular Democratic Governor and chief resister of such retrograde policies, Janet Napolitano, flew the coop to Washington to become Secretary of Homeland Security.

These cuts come on top of the university announcing last week that they would furlough all staff, top to bottom, for two weeks. I have to show I’m working nine fewer hours than my original commitment, and my princessly salary will be cut accordingly. This is not going to change my lifestyle much. But I think of what it means to people dependent on the university for their fulltime compensation–those who still have jobs that is. More than 550 positions, including 200 faculty, have been eliminated. Further, the state’s whacking back of educational funding extends to K-12 public schools also–and Arizona was already near the bottom of the 50-state heap in education funding.

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