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RELEASE: Sequestration Will Further Exacerbate Educational Disparities in America

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Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Email: kpeters@americanprogress.org

Read the analysis.

Washington, D.C. — If Congress fails to act, a series of automatic across-the-board cuts known as the “sequester” will go into effect on March 1, stripping millions of our nation’s most vulnerable children of much-needed education support and services, according to a new report released today by the Center for American Progress. Children living in poverty, children from low-income families, and children with disabilities already receive inequitable educational opportunities, and these disparities will only be exacerbated if the budgets of federal education programs are slashed.

“Across the county, too many of our neediest children attend under-resourced schools and are denied access to a high-quality education,” said Cynthia G. Brown, Vice President of Education Policy at the Center for American Progress. “These children depend on the vital federal educational programs that will be cut significantly if sequestration kicks in on March 1. This is not something that our children or our country can afford.”

The automatic across-the-board spending cuts would affect almost every major government agency, resulting in an approximately 5.3 percent cut to essential education programs overall. The cuts would be significant, totaling $1.7 billion and impacting up to 1.2 million children, at least 2,700 schools, and up to 30,000 staff.

Senate Democrats have put forth a proposal to postpone sequestration through the end of this year, while congressional Republicans have all but given up on preventing it. Not only have outspoken conservative leaders such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared that sequestration will happen, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is also treating the sequester as a bargaining chip, seeing only the potential for political victories in the broader ongoing budget negotiations—not the individual children and schools in need.

The analysis released today by CAP education experts Juliana Herman and Kaitlin Pennington provides evidence that American children will feel the impact of these automatic cuts. Numerous educational programs will be affected, but the greatest impact will be to the most essential programs that most directly affect children from low-income communities: No Child Left Behind Title I funding, Head Start and Early Head Start funding, and funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The analysis details the impacts on each program and includes the following key findings:

No Child Left Behind Title I:

  • $725 million in cuts
  • 2,700 schools affected
  • 1.2 million students impacted
  • 9,800 staff at risk

Head Start and Early Head Start

  • $424 million in cuts
  • 70,000 children impacted immediately
  • 14,000 staff at risk

Individuals with Disabilities Act

  • $579 million in cuts
  • 6,900 staff impacted

Read the full analysis: Sequestration Threatens to Further Exacerbate Educational Disparities in America by Juliana Herman and Kaitlin Pennington

Related resources from the Center for American Progress:

To speak with experts on this topic, please contact Katie Peters at 202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org.

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