OPINION: Maryland's 6th District Could Suffer $80 Million Loss in Education Funding

The following opinion was written by the National Education Association (NEA).

(Washington, D.C.) Unless the U.S. House of Representatives concurs with the federal education budget passed by the United States Senate, Maryland will face an $840 million shortfall in funding for public schools. Maryland’s 6th Congressional District alone would suffer more than $80 million in lost education funding.

The National Education Association called on Representative Roscoe G. Bartlett to do his part in restoring funding for critical education programs for the children of Maryland’s 6th Congressional District.

The initial Bush Administration budget proposal called for the largest reduction in federal funding for public schools in two decades. The United States Senate, however, has taken action to restore much of the potential damage the President’s proposal would bring to America’s public schools.

“There has seldom been a more clear cut difference between those who support great public schools for every child and those who would cut the very heart out of federal education programs,” say Reg Weaver, President of the National Education Association. “Failure by Congressman Bartlett to support the Senate’s action would harm children from Frederick to Hagerstown to Cumberland and every community in between.”

The largest single shortfall in federal education dollars proposed for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District comes in the form of a whopping $30 million that will be denied to the Head Start program. If that figure stands, nearly 4,000 6th District children who are eligible to attend Head Start will be left out of the program.

Federal rural education grants, education technology grants, vocational education state grants and safe and drug-free schools funding would completely disappear.

Even the Administration’s much-ballyhooed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act would be underfunded by more than $15 million and negatively impact thousands of 6th District students.

Counting on Congressman Bartlett to step up for 6th District children may be a long shot however. A just released NEA Congressional Report Card gives the Congressman an “F” for his lack of support for federal education funding.

“Voters have consistently said they want public schools to receive the funding they need to help every child be successful in school,” adds NEA’s Weaver. “We can only hope that the people of Maryland’s 6thCongressional District will make it clear to Congressman Bartlett that they expect him to represent their interest and the interest of Maryland’s children.”

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 2.7 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

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