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Education Campaign

Radical Republicans' Threaten Our Kids' Future

Fair Share is working to support the President's plan to recruit and train 100,000 new teachers and push back on radical Republicans' efforts to slash education funding and put our future at risk. We're on the ground in Colorado, Oregon, and Virginia, and we'll be conducting grassroots outreach in more states in the coming weeks and months. Here is some important background on this critical Fair Share campaign:

Radical Republican politicians want to slash education funding

During the 2010 campaign, Republican leaders in the U.S. House pledged to cut $100 billion from the federal budget.  If these cuts are made across-the-board, it would result in a $15 billion cut to education funding. This would take 40,000 teachers and school aides out of the classroom, and reduce the average student’s higher education Pell Grant by $700. [1]

Now, conservative House Republicans are playing to their base by competing over who can cut spending faster and deeper. 

On February 3, Republican Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers announced a plan to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year (through September 2011) that would cut just under $35 billion from the 2010 budget. But, that wasn’t enough for the radical Republican movement and newly elected conservatives.  So, just days later the Republican leadership switched gears and passed a measure that cuts $61 billion.

But even that is not enough for Tea Party leader Senator Rand Paul.  Sen. Paul has proposed cutting $500 billion from the federal budget, including $78 billion in cuts to the Department of Education—83% of its budget. [2] He would eliminate all programs except the Pell Grant.  This would represent up to a 14% cut in total spending on elementary and secondary education in the U.S. [3]

We can’t afford education cuts

Our public schools face serious challenges in preparing the next generation for leadership in the 21st century. 

Forty years ago, the U.S. had the highest high school graduation rate among industrialized nations. Now we rank 20th, [4]  with 1.2 million students dropping out of school each year—7000 every day. [5]

Seventy percent of eighth graders can’t read at grade level. [6] And, in a 2009 ranking of 15 year-olds’ skills in 34 modern democracies, U.S. teens ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math.[7]

President Obama’s Recovery Act provided a significant influx of education funding over the past two years.  This included $5 billion for early learning programs, $77 billion for K-12, and the successful “Race to the Top” program in which states competed for federal grants by making bold reforms.[8]

But, this funding ends as of this year. We need more investment, not drastic cuts.

We need more high-quality teachers

One of the biggest challenges we face in education the next generation is recruiting, training, and retaining high-quality teachers.

One out of three new teachers leaves the profession within five years. [9] Nationwide, we could lose 1.7 million teachers to retirement in the next decade—the largest wave in history, [10] and more than half of the 3.2 million teachers in the U.S. [11]

Rather than slash budgets, we need to invest in recruiting more high-quality teachers now.

For this reason, in his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama announced plans to recruit and train 100,000 teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math. 

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado has a complimentary proposal to “create a Presidential Teacher Corps (PTC) to improve teacher preparation programs and mobilize an army of 100,000 talented teachers to work in high-need schools over the next 5 years.” [12]

Taking action to protect education funding

Fair Share is working to support the President’s plan and push back on the radical Republicans' efforts to put our future at risk.  We’re on the ground in Colorado, Oregon, and Virginia, and we’ll be conducting grassroots outreach in more states in the coming weeks and months.

Click here to take action to protect education funding.