This report was also submitted to Kansas legislators in Washington, D.C.,
and as a Letter to the Editor in Kansas newspapers, as part of joint campaign
by KATESOL/BE, KAEA, and the Kansas State Board of Regents.
With all the media attention being devoted to the Bush Administration’s efforts to dismantle Social Security, there are some other items in the administration’s agenda which are going nearly unreported. In particular, key aspects of the administration’s proposed federal budget for 2006—if not amended—stand to impact critical education services throughout the nation and especially in Kansas, making even more difficult the efforts of our state legislators to fully fund Kansas public schools.
The President’s budget proposal cuts funding for the Workforce Investment Act Title II (adult education and family literacy) 64 percent, from the current $569 million to $207 million in fiscal year 2006. Adult education programs in Kansas serve over 10,000 educationally disadvantaged out-of-school youth and adults who lack a high school diploma and the basic skills to function effectively in the community. These essential programs enable parents to learn English, read to their children, and support their children’s success in school. Family literacy programs are used to close the achievement gap for children in high-needs schools across the state. Kelly Mobray, Director of the Salina Adult Education Center, USD 305, Salina, Kansas, and Vice-President of the Kansas Adult Education Association, has said, “There is a real danger that the classes we now provide could disappear.”
The Bush budget proposal also reneges on the complete funding of Title I, a program that provides assistance to disadvantaged children in math and reading. The $9.4 billion shortfall in Title I funding will impact three million children across the United States and deny Title I services to thousands of Kansas children. The Bush proposals effectively terminate a number of other vital education programs, including: Safe and Drug Free Schools, Technology State Grants, Dropout Prevention Programs, Elementary School Counseling, and Even Start.
As adventurous military spending has opened an enormous federal deficit, directly impacting many Kansas families through call-ups and extended tours of duty for National Guard and Army Reserve Units, our state is now being asked to bear the brunt of funding cuts in education which undermine the objectives of No Child Left Behind and cause further distress in school districts across the state. While Kansas legislators ignore their duties and obligations, Kansas families and Kansas school-children are truly being left behind by irresponsible leaders in Washington, D.C., and in Topeka.
Article by Robb Scott
2005 ESL MiniConference Online