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PTA: Congressional Inaction on Sequestration Harms Students and Families 

Ed. Note: This is the news release that inspired our commentary about the sequester and education.

National PTA disappointed with the lack of a bipartisan solution

ALEXANDRIA, VA. (March 1, 2013)—The following statement can be attributed to National PTA President Betsy Landers:

The National PTA is disappointed with the U.S. Congress’ apparent failure to reach a balanced, responsible deficit reduction plan to replace automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. While we are hopeful Congress can reach a last-minute compromise, National PTA is not optimistic.

Education now faces the largest cuts in history, and our nation’s families and schools are confronting the fact that curriculum supports and vital school and community programming for our highest-need students will decrease. Every single one of National PTA’s nearly 5 million members will suffer the consequences of this avoidable situation.

The Department of Education is estimated to lose $2.4 billion. Funding streams for high-poverty schools, students with special needs, and military and Native American students are receiving the most devastating blows. While most of the reductions will be fully realized in the 2013-2014 school year, the reality is that school districts across the country started to feel the pain when they began planning to absorb the effects of sequestration last summer.

For example, districts dependent on Impact Aid, that is federal dollars to assist with loss of property tax revenue, implemented staff and program reductions for the current school year, anticipating the loss of a large portion of their operating budgets.  As a result, the learning continuum for thousands, including military and Native American students, has been disrupted.

Cuts of this magnitude not only strip critical learning opportunities from our children, but they also harm the economy. In addition to the immediate cut in teachers’ paychecks, today’s sweeping cuts will profoundly impact our future ability to prepare college- and career-ready students and develop a skilled workforce.

By not achieving bipartisan action to replace sequestration, Congress has failed our nation’s children and their families.

Source: News Release/National PTA, March 1, 2013

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