The sequester that has been threatened is now upon us and WILL affect our students and schools. Some of the ways that the sequester will affect education are more obvious than others. Here are the top five ways that the sequester can affect students and education as a whole.
4. WIC (Women, Infant and Children) is being cut
It may seem odd that decreasing funding for WIC could affect school aged students, but any time nutrition is involved it can cause a ripple effect. WIC is a food supplement program for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, infants, and children up to five years of age. Students in early childhood programs and some in kindergarten may receive WIC benefits. This includes food such as milk, eggs, bread, and produce as well nutrition classes and wellness checks. Any older siblings may not receive WIC checks, but the entire family benefits from the food. WIC will have to trim the budget somehow, whether it is by decreasing the amount of food or types of food offered or by changing income guidelines so fewer families are benefited.
3. Government employees being placed on furlough
The income decrease for families facing furlough can put quite a strain on students. It may cause families to have less food, give up a vehicle, choose between having hot water and electricity, or even lose their home. Older students may take on a job/s to help lessen the financial burden.
Students may have to change schools due to moving, or their grades may drop, they may not have clean clothes, or may steal food and/or school supplies. When life becomes unpredictable, unstable, and stressful at home; students’ behavior often changes. It is not uncommon for parents to tell students not to discuss financial difficulties, so it may be up to teachers and counselors to take students aside whose behavior has changed or grades have dropped and offer support.
2. Head Start funding is being decreased by $400,000,000+
Head Start helps low income students with and without disabilities receive preschool. Head Start has assisted many students and helped identify special needs for many years. With this decrease in funding at least 70,000 students will no longer be a part of this program.
1. Special education will lose $840,000,000
Even though special education is mandated by the federal government, losing the funding will cause schools to find the money from other places. Schools may be forced to choose between certain programs so that the money can be used for special education. Some staff may lose their jobs and classroom sizes may become larger. New books and curriculum may have to wait as well as new furniture and school supplies.
The Washington Post listed how different areas would be affected by the sequester in each state. Even though Kansas and Missouri will both be affected, Missouri is estimated to lose more. Missouri is expected to lose $11.9 million in education and Kansas is expected to lose $5.5 million. Check the Washington Post for more detailed information on how the sequester will affect education in Kansas and Missouri (or whichever state you live in) click here.
We can not be exactly sure how the sequester will affect schools or the economy, but we need to remember that what affects us affects our kids too.