Washington—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on the impact that across-the-board cuts would have on children, families and communities.
"This faux crisis will throw cold water on our fragile economy and devastate America's children and families. Taking an ax to investments in our children, our economic recovery, and our communities is irresponsible and dangerous.
"If Congress fails to act, our classrooms will become more crowded; low-income children and children with special needs will lose the services and support they need to succeed in the classroom; hundreds of thousands of children and families will go hungry; tens of thousands of children will be kicked out of Head Start and other early education programs; college students will lose the work-study programs they need to support themselves while in school; and families will be denied vaccinations and other health services they need to stay healthy.
"America's educators, frontline health professionals and public employees work every day to make a difference in the lives of the children and families they serve—and these public servants already have been forced to stretch resources to their breaking point and make sacrifices to ensure they are able to serve their communities. We cannot cut our way to prosperity, and we cannot continue to inflict pain on children and families and on those who educate, heal and nurture them.
"Congress must live up to its responsibility to the American people, put a stop to this endless charade of manufactured crises, and start investing in building a brighter future for all who call America home. Congress should act immediately on the balanced approach put forth by Sens. Harry Reid and Patty Murray that would stop these dangerous cuts and instead invest in our children and communities by closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, and by asking millionaires to pay a little more to protect our children and America's future."
Dangerous Cuts Threaten Children, Families and Our Communities
Cuts to education: Title I education funds would be eliminated for more than 2,700 schools, cutting support for nearly 1.2 million disadvantaged students. This funding reduction would put the jobs of approximately 10,000 teachers and aides at risk. Students would lose access to individual instruction, after-school programs, and other interventions that help close achievement gaps.
Cuts to special education (IDEA): Cuts to special education funding would eliminate federal support for more than 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and support to preschool and K-12 students with disabilities.
Cuts to early childhood education: 70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start and Early Head Start; and community and faith-based organizations, small businesses, local governments and school systems would have to lay off more than 14,000 teachers, teacher assistants and other staff.
Cuts to mental health: If a sequester takes effect, up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated.
Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children: WIC would be cut by $353 million, resulting in over 600,000 low-income, women, infants and children being dropped from the rolls.
Cuts to higher education: $49 million would be cut from the federal work-study program, which would affect 33,000 students; and $37 million would be cut from the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Program making it harder for 71,000 students to afford college.
Cuts to child care: Cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services' Child Care and Development Fund would leave 30,000 low-income children without child care subsidies, denying them access to child development programs and ending a crucial work support for many families.
Cuts to housing: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Choice Voucher Program, which provides rental assistance to families with very low incomes, would face a significant reduction in funding, which would place about 125,000 families at immediate risk of losing their permanent housing.
Cuts to healthcare: Cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would deny life-saving immunizations to 30,000 children and 20,000 adults. And Medicare cuts would lead to 200,000 fewer healthcare providers on the job and healing patients.