The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education held a hearing this morning to hear from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a panel of state and local educators about the impact of sequestration on education programs. Chairman of the subcommittee, Senator Tom Harkin (IA), called on his colleagues to come to a bipartisan and balanced approach to deficit reduction, rather than the “arbitrary” cuts of sequestration.
During his testimony, Secretary Duncan agreed that we need to take a balanced approach because sequestration will cut both effective and ineffective programs. He also argued that cutting education funding is very much a national security issue due to the number of highly technical jobs, including those in the military sector, which go unfilled because there are not enough skilled individuals to fill them. When asked about the impact of the cuts on education reform efforts, Duncan said that sequestration will touch all education programs, including CTE.
June Atkinson, State Superintendent of Public Instructionin North Carolina, spoke about how sequestration would hurt her state’s effort at increasing college and career readiness. For example, providing training for Microsoft certifications requires CTE funding, which would be cut under sequestration. She also noted that the graduation rate of CTE concentrators in North Carolina is 90 percent. Presumably cuts to Perkins funding would hinder the tremendous achievement of CTE students.
Harkin also released this morning Under Threat – Sequestration’s Impact on Nondefense Jobs and Services, a report which looks at the potential impact of sequestration on education, health and labor programs under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction. The report gives national as well as state-by-state estimates of the number of jobs that could be lost and the number of individuals who could lose services if sequestration goes into effect.
Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager