NAfME Sends Letter to Congress Opposing the Sequester
Posted by chrisw on Sunday, December 30, 2012
Following an initiative started by the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), NAfME today sent a letter to all members of Congress opposing the sequester, which Congress continues to debate, in light of the fiscal cliff negotiations. Full text appears below:
December 30, 2012
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) advocates for music education in our nation’s schools at the local, state, and national levels. NAfME urges you to prevent education programs from a $4.8 billion sequestration cut on January 2, 2013. We urge Congress as part of any fiscal cliff legislation to replace the sequester with a balanced approach to deficit reduction which protects education and nondefense discretionary programs from further cuts. At a minimum, we urge you to delay the sequester for one year, while a broader balanced deficit reduction plan is worked on by the next Congress.
Unless Congress acts now, all federally funded education programs (other than Pell grants which is exempt from the first year cut) will be subject to an 8.2% automatic across-the-board cut. Critical programs including Title I aid to high-poverty schools (which provide music education experiences for countless children) will be slashed. These sequestration cuts would chop funding for programs in the Department of Education by over $4.1 billion, amounting to the largest cuts ever to the education budget.
Education programs have already suffered significant harmful cuts to both K-12 and higher education.
The need to increase the federal investment in education has never been greater. Jobs and the economy, which music education is responsible for helping develop through 21st Century Skills learning, are directly linked to such investments. Both unemployment rates and lifetime earnings are based on levels of education attainment—access to music education can have a demonstrable impact on both.
The American public agrees. In a poll released this month by the Committee for Education Funding and the Foundation for Education Investment, two-thirds of the public want to protect education programs from the sequester cuts and 86% agree that education investments are important to our future economic growth. In addition, a national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7, found that cuts in federal education spending are particularly unpopular. Fully 75% of the public disapproves of reducing federal education funding and 61% oppose cuts in funding for student loans.
Solving our nation’s fiscal situation and reducing the debt can’t and won’t happen simply by further cutting federal spending and squeezing education and other nondefense discretionary spending. We urge Congress to replace the sequester with a balanced approach to deficit reduction so that music educators can get back to doing what they do best—orchestrating success!
Michael A. Butera