Districts are bracing themselves for the impact of the major education cuts set to occur with the March 1 sequestration as they plan their budget and staffing choices for the fall, said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement, and some teachers have already received pink slips. If congressional lawmakers are unable to compromise on another plan to trim the national budget, Department of Education funding will be scaled back 9 percent just this year alone, according to the national Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. Head Start and special education program funding would be two of the hardest hit, and slashed by hundreds of millions of dollars each, Duncan says. And up to 40,000 teachers and other school employees could face layoffs due to the planned, across-the-board cutbacks totaling $85 billion nationally.
“Sequestration is a bad policy. It cuts all programs by the same percentage, no matter the purpose or the performance,” says Duncan. “By reducing education funding now and in the coming years, it would jeopardize our nation’s ability to develop and support an educated, skilled workforce that can compete in the global economy.”