So if you’ve been following the news, you’re probably aware that we managed to get our two political sides within the boundaries of the same page and have passed a budget. In it, there are a bunch of cuts – probably similar to your household budget the past two years. We all knew they were coming….we just weren’t sure what the final outcome would be. Some of the biggest cuts are to public programs – including education. So, what does that mean for education as a whole?
Turns out, not much.
In a statement on the White House’s Blog, while some education funding has been cut, a vast majority of K-12 education funding remains in tact.
We protected funding for critical programs that invest in science programs, our kids’ education, and critical health programs. We are maintaining current levels of Head Start enrollment, funding Race to the Top, including an early learning element, and have sufficient savings available to maintain the Pell Grant maximum award and the broad education reform agenda, including K-12 education. There is still robust investment to efficiently and effectively run Medicare and to implement the Affordable Care Act. Even though we will no longer double the funding of key research and development agencies, you will still see strong investments in National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation and the Office of Science.
After reading this, I thought, “so……what did we cut?” followed by “and how will that effect our school programs?”.
We’ll feel the impact of these cuts in salaries, benefits, and pensions of current education employees. Universities will need to halt new programs. But, so far as funding current programs and initiatives, I don’t think this will be that much different than the current state of things. And if you’re a public school employee, you’ve probably already been through a round or two of “creative” funding cuts. Furloughs, school scheduling changes, pay freezes, pension and benefit contribution hikes have become the new norm. So with these new federal cuts to education, this trend will probably continue.
Bottom line is this: we’ve survived this far and we’ll survive the next round. We survive by doing what we do best – being great educators that can be creative with what we’re given to work with.
As one good administrator friend of mine recently told me, “we are models by example every day for our students”. We will carry on during these budget cuts with the textbooks we have, rather than with new ones. Rather than purchasing new computers, we will manage to find innovative ways to use the technology that we already have. We will research and implement new strategies such as common core, arts integration, and 21st century learning skills to our repertoire to engage and empower our learners.
Even amid these budget cuts, we can do this.
Because when we do, we are modeling the examples of what our students can accomplish and achieve despite their own circumstances. Which is what a public education in America is really all about.
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.