I was going to write on the GOP’s proposed cuts to education and national service this week, but Richard Cohen beat me to it. Good news is, he did a bang-up job. Go read the article. Get angry. Get in touch with your member of Congress. Call them one extra time for me (DC doesn’t have any voting representation in Congress).
Here’s an excerpt from Cohen’s column. The rest is here.
What can certainly be measured is the budgetary hit that TFA is set to take – about $20 million or, to put it another way, 400 teachers. This is because TFA’s money is contained in an annual earmark, and earmarks, as we all know, have been abolished because they are evil.
And while there is a good chance the TFA earmark will be restored, the ax being taken to the program is representative of the budgetary madness that has come over Washington. Spurred by the Tea Party, Republicans in the House have come up with budget cuts that do little to rein in the deficit but would severely harm programs they have long disliked. They want to end funding for public broadcasting, maul the IRS and cut the Education Department budget by nearly $5 billion, yet more pain for TFA. What are these people thinking?
For what it’s worth, TFA would lose around $18 million if the “earmark” isn’t restored, but that’s not all. Since the GOP is also proposing to eliminate Americorps, TFA would lose another $11.4 million in Americorps grant money. Even that‘s not all. Americorps provides funding for education stipends for TFA Corps Members to help them cover the cost of their certification requirements while teaching. For me, this meant taking classes towards a Master’s degree (which I received in June, 2007). Any money left over from the stipends can be used for other educational expenses (I used some for my undergraduate loans). It’s around $5,000/year (less when I was in the corps). Eliminate that money, and TFA becomes a program for only wealthy college graduates.
Please, please, PLEASE remember that this is a budget proposal from the party that demanded keeping the Bush tax cuts at a cost of over half a trillion dollars for the next two years. This is also the party defending $4 billion in subsidies to big oil after a year when oil companies reported nearly $80 billion in profits. Don’t tell me that the GOP is a party of fiscal responsibility.