What if Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had to close? Not because of the plot of an evil Dark Lord, but instead because of funding. Surely, the wizarding community would be up in arms, asking their legislatures to do something about it.
Recently, due to an enormous need for budget cuts, the United States government has seen the need to cut financial dollars that fund education. First, I realize that there need to be budget cuts, I know that we've got a huge amount of debt and we need to do something about it. My point is that we're taking funding away from the groups that need it the most.
If you look at the list of programs that have been cut, most of them service children who are from low income families or who are physically disabled. Programs like Reading is Fundamental (RIF) that provide books at no-cost to kids whose homes are too far from libraries, Vocational training programs to help our Native Americans train for and find jobs, the Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity Program that helps young African American men and women who are struggling finanacially get funding for an education. While our schools can't teach kids to fly on a broom, go watch the magic and delight on the faces of children who take part in the Special Olympics. That is real magic, but after this year that magic will be gone.
According to Educator Advocates, more than 22 percent of the more than $4 billion in spending cuts comes from Department of Education programs even though such programs compose only 2.3 percent of the overall federal budget. Our education programs are being hit incredibly hard.
This happens at the same time many of our teachers are being laid off and class sizes are increasing. (read Education Secretary warns about layoffs or Teacher Layoff Plans in Los Angeles Pose Broad Implications) If class size increases, the students hardest hit will be the poor, students who are English Language Learners and students with learning disabilities. These kids need extra attention, they need the special programs.
As a teacher I am appalled. Education was meant to be the great equalizer. The purpose of education is to provide a means for everyone to be able to strive to improve their quality of life, to provide for their family and to learn about the world around them. Now, we have cut the funding to the programs for children who need us the most.
I urge you to grab your wands, send out sparks and help our country's poor, minority and handicapped children who desperately need an education. Contact your state and local representatives and let them know how you feel about the budget cuts they've imposed on our children. Below the list of cuts you'll find a link to locate your representatives and a pledge being sent to congress to put our children first.
- Striving Readers ($250 million)
- Even Start ($66.5 million)
- ($25.6 million)
- National Board for Professional Teaching Standards ($10.7 million)
- Teach for America ($18 million)
- Close Up fellowships ($1.9 million)
- Reading Is Fundamental ($24.8 million)
- Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners ($8.8 million)
- ($40 million)
- Special Olympics education programs ($8.1 million)
- Smaller Learning Communities ($88 million)
- Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership ($63.9 million)
- Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions ($15.1 million)
- Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institutions ($8.1 million)
- Legal ($3 million)
- B.J. Stupak Olympic Scholarship Program ($1 million)
Sign the Pledge at Students First Comments (20)