Oppose the Nelson-Collins Amendment to H.R. 1 And its Deep Cuts in Education Funding

Media 02.5,09

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, with nearly 200 member organizations, we are writing to urge you to oppose the Nelson-Collins amendment to H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and maintain education funding at a minimum of $140 billion. The amendment would make draconian cuts in education funding – totaling $54 billion, which is more than two-thirds of the cuts to all programs proposed by the amendment.

Education spending can be the most effective form of economic stimulus. Shovel ready school construction, the preservation of classroom jobs, equipping labs, and training teachers can all have both immediate economic impact and profound long term impact on the life – and earning potential – of the students in those schools.

Rather than protecting the short and long term benefits of education funding, the Nelson-Collins amendment attacks them, cutting $54 billion from education while cutting a mere $23.9 billion from the rest of the ARRA. For the Senate to target education spending for cuts so deep, it is effectively balancing its books on the backs of children. This is simply unconscionable.

Specifically, the amendment would make 50% cuts to the funds allocated for each of the following programs:

  • State stabilization fund, cut by $39.78 billion
  • Title I, cut by $6.5 billion
  • Special education/IDEA, cut by $6.75 billion
  • Head Start, cut by $1 billion

We believe there may be no portion of the ARRA that better combines the short and long term economic goals of Congress and the President than the investment in education. We urge the Senate to vote against the Nelson-Collins amendment and preserve education funding at $140 billion. We thank you for considering our views. If you have any questions, please contact David Goldberg, Senior Counsel, at 202-466-0087 or [email protected], regarding this or any issue.

Wade Henderson, President & CEO
Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President