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NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: Congress is playing politics with students

The education of the daughters and sons of the women and men in uniform is in jeopardy

WASHINGTON - March 01, 2013 -

Automatic budget cuts to the education programs and services on which middle-class families and the nation’s 50 million students rely go into effect today. Among the first affected by the rolling budget cuts are educators who work on Department of Defense's military bases. The timing of the budget cuts also is causing tremendous uncertainty and anxiety as school districts are making budgetary decisions for the upcoming school year. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement.

“Congress is playing politics with students. Due to the congressional inaction, a wall of indiscriminate cuts will come crashing down on students and schools. Republican leaders have picked sides, choosing politics over students and middle-class families, by allowing the across-the-board cuts to go forward. Students are going to pay the price for political inaction for years to come.

“The real consequences of the budget cuts—fewer educators, reading coaches, ballooning class sizes, and no after-school tutoring—are keeping educators and students up at night, and they are causing uncertainty and angst as school districts are making budgetary decisions for the upcoming school year. Most immediately, the cuts are jeopardizing the education of the daughters and sons of those who protect our nation—the women and men in uniform—as school districts on military bases here and abroad will feel the pinch first. As a nation, we can and should do better than to shortchange them.

“By pushing for deep cuts, and causing uncertainty and frustration in schools, the unmistakable legacy of Republican leaders is that they chose cuts over jobs and politics over compromise. Congress has an obligation to find a responsible, balanced, and permanent solution to avoid inflicting further pain on students, families, and communities. It’s wrong to balance the budgets on the back of students without demanding corporations and the rich to pay their fair share.”


For a detailed state-by-state analysis about the impact of the across-the-board automatic cuts on students and education, please click here.


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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.


CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez, (202) 822-7823,