New data released by the U.S. Department of Education shows that a proposed legislation by the House Republicans to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) could cut over $3 billion in federal funding to the largest 33 school districts with high populations of black and Hispanic students.
The cuts in education spending are a result of the federal government locking funding at sequestration levels and giving states the freedom to divert money from schools serving the neediest populations to more wealthy districts.
Under this new bill, school districts that serve a high population of black students could lose a total of more than $1.3 billion in federal funding, while districts that serve a high population of Hispanic students could lose a total of more than $1.9 billion. For example, Philadelphia alone, which is 55 percent black, could lose $412 million, and students within the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is 74 percent Hispanic, could lose $782 million.
“The partisan proposal in the House flies in the face of what ESEA was created to do — give every child an equal opportunity to be successful. This bill is bad for children and would turn back the clock on progress,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a news release. “At exactly the time we should be expanding opportunity for America’s students and helping schools recover from the recession, this bill would allow unconscionable funding cuts. Our teachers and students deserve better.”
On Wednesday, the White House threatened to veto the House Republicans proposed bill to reauthorize ESEA, better known as the No Child Left Behind Act, citing the efforts as a “significant step backwards.”