Many of us are still asking what this “sequester” really means. Here’s your answer: $85 billion in spending cuts are going to be implemented on Friday, with a potential of up to $1.2 trillion in cuts going into effect over the next 10 years. It’s the result of a hyperpolarized political deadlock, the child of the fiscal cliff and an attempt by the government to save money and keep us from spending more and more of what we don’t have.
And it’s going to affect education. BostInno reported Tuesday that the sequester will eliminate about 40,000 jobs in education.
This is disheartening. Even if budget cuts are necessary, education should suffer the least. It’s already widely known that the U.S. school system suffers a number of failings. Last week, The Daily Free Press reported that there are already too many aspiring teachers for too few teacher job positions. The last thing we need is a less thorough, weaker education network. Education, after all, is what will help save the economy in the long run.
This cut likely means that students of all ages won’t be getting the support that they need to thrive. Their education will be limited, as schools continue to oust arts programs when funds get tight, and as classes get larger because districts don’t have the money to pay more instructors. And it’s a fact that a smaller student-teacher ratio is a significant factor in determining a student’s academic success.
It also means that research programs and fellowships in universities will begin to dwindle. This too will inhibit educational progress, and perhaps prevent some American students from achieving prominence on the world stage of academia. It will also make research programs less nationally widespread, meaning those schools fortunate enough to maintain their programs will be ever more selective. The sequester should focus on cutting funds more heavily in other areas — the military, perhaps — and save as much money in the education sector as possible. In fact, the government should be finding ways to invest more money into the education system, so as to ensure that our economy continues to grow in the future, and not just now.