Education is the key to American competitiveness and a strong economy, and continued federal investment in education is needed in order to support improvements in student achievement and put our economy on the path to sustained growth. The United States suffers from persistent differences in achievement between groups of students defined by race/ethnicity or family income, and our students also rank well behind those in economically competitive countries on international tests. We must continue to invest in education in order to create a system that is more equitable and that produces American students who are more competitive in the global marketplace for talent.
Federal education spending needs to be protected in the congressional super committee negotiations this fall. The super committee is charged with coming up with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, which comes on top of additional caps that were imposed on future discretionary appropriations as part of the debt-ceiling deal. Federal education spending is included in the pot of discretionary money subject to deficit-reducing cuts. If the committee can’t reach agreement and the automatic sequestration kicks in, education programs are projected to be cut by about 9 percent. That translates to about $4 billion worth of cuts to the education system. This would be a devastating blow to children across the country, especially during a time when almost half the states have slashed their education budgets.
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