NEARI President Val Lawson joined Congressman Seth Magaziner, educators, and parents to condemn House Republicans' proposed cuts to education, including Head Start and school funding for teachers. As a former public school teacher and Rhode Island’s General Treasurer for eight years – where he spearheaded an initiative to rebuild school buildings across the state – Rep. Magaziner has long been an advocate for public education.
The House Republican FY2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill – and its 28 percent cut of $64 billion – will slash access to early childhood education, kick teachers out of classrooms, and deny opportunities for children and young adults in Rhode Island and across the country. In Rhode Island, these cuts will eliminate access to Head Start for 200 children and remove up to 800 teachers from classrooms serving low-income students.
These extreme cuts have been introduced amidst a national teacher shortage that has taken a toll on public school classrooms across Rhode Island, as well as the closure of over a quarter of Rhode Island’s Head Start classrooms due to lack of funding and staffing shortages. These closures have led to long waitlists and a lack of affordable child care for parents.
“Ensuring students have access to early childhood education and outstanding schools is critical to their success, but House Republicans’ proposed education cuts would rob future generations of this opportunity,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner. “At a time where Rhode Island – and our nation – is facing a teacher shortage, Head Start classroom closures, and learning loss from the pandemic, these are the exact wrong priorities. We must invest in education, not slash funding for it. I am committed to fighting back against these extreme Republican cuts in Congress so that we set every child up for success.”
“As Rhode Island and our nation face educator shortages, it’s critical that we support funding to recruit and retain teachers,” said Val Lawson, “Slashing Title I funding will only harm the education and development of our children. I thank Rep. Magaziner for his efforts in Congress to protect students from harmful cuts so they can achieve their full potential.”
In addition to cutting federal funding for Title I and Head Start, the extreme House Republican 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill will:
- Eliminate services for English learners. The House Republican bill eliminates federal support for vital academic services for 16,100 English learners in Rhode Island through the elimination of English Language Acquisition (Title III).
- Eliminate Federal Work Study. The bill eliminates Federal Work Study for the 6,700 students who need it in Rhode Island to help finance a postsecondary education, limiting their potential earnings and future success in the job market.
- Eliminate need-based financial aid. The House Republican’s bill takes away need-based financial aid for 10,800 students in Rhode Island through the elimination of Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG).
- Eliminate youth employment opportunities. The bill eliminates WIOA Youth Job Training, which would deny job training and employment services for 400 youth in Rhode Island who face barriers to finding a good paying job.
- Eliminate adult employment opportunities. The bill eliminates WIOA Adult Job Training, which would deny job training and employment services for 1,000 adults in Rhode Island who face barriers to finding a good paying job.
Pictured l-r: Director of Rhode Island Kids Count Paige Clausius-Parks, Head Start parent Bernelle Richardson, Congressman Seth Magaziner, Chief Executive Officer and Head Start Director of West Warwick CHILD, Inc. Michelle Wolstenholme, Val Lawson, RI Federation of Teachers President Frank Flynn