By Aziah Siid | Word In Black
(WIB) – Time and time again, teachers call for more money to buy materials for classroom projects and pay for field trips. Principals and CEOs want additional funds to keep their schools up-to-date technologically and culturally. And school psychologists and counselors have requested more mental health providers and services within school walls.
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want to cut 80% of funding for Title I, a federal program that sends money to schools based on the number of children from low-income backgrounds enrolled there.
For almost 60 years, Title I programs have been used to decrease class sizes, pay for teachers assistants, create afterschool programs, pay for resources to teach reading and math, and offer countless other necessities for underserved students.
“Some schools have been underfunded for decades, leaving their students, especially those who are Black, Brown, or live in rural areas, without the facilities and resources they need to come into their brilliance,” Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association said in a statement. “Every student — and I do mean every — should have access to a great public school, which is why we must protect Title I funding.’’
The House bill, which could be approved as early as next week, would potentially wipe away nearly $15 billion for historically and currently underserved school districts. To add insult to injury for Black students, the bill would also ban the use of funding to teach “critical race theory,” a term that is not defined in the legislation, according to reporting from Chalkbeat.
The dramatic cuts, which would slash 28% of the overall education budget, would also directly impact more than 50,000 Head Start slots, wipe out over 200,000 educational jobs, and eliminate Title II grants used to recruit and retain teachers.
Studies show that highest-need districts — which often have large Black and Brown student populations — already receive substantially less state and local funding than lower-need districts. Funding from Title I programs is intended to fill those gaps.
The NEA is encouraging its members and supporters to email their elected officials and urge them to “oppose the draconian cuts in education funding proposed by the House GOP.” But they’re not alone. Organizations like the National Parents Union are also organizing against the proposed cuts.
Support for this Sacramento OBSERVER article was provided to Word In Black (WIB) by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. WIB is a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media that includes print and digital partners.