That’s the first thing I thought when I read this long list of sequestration effects. Yes, they’re terrible, and most are just really nonsensical from a public policy point of view. (And if you don’t have time for the whole list, just read this one.)
But what’s more significant, I think, is this: Congress has been on a two-week recess. Have they heard about any of these effects when they were back home? It’s oversimplifying to suggest that that an outcry back home would have been enough to pressure Congress into immediately doing something about this upon their return—but if they’re not hearing about the negative effects from constituents back home, that would seem to significantly diminish any chance that it will be repealed or replaced anytime soon.
In a recent Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup Poll, (as reported in Education Week) a majority of respondents (60%) said that balancing the federal budget was more important than improving the quality of education, “even though they said funding [was] the biggest problem facing public schools.”
The deficit issue gets a lot of attention in the media, so it would not surprise me if it’s true that many people fear the budget deficit to the point where they are willing to sacrifice federal investments in public education to reduce it. While it’s not actually necessary to sacrifice those investments any further in order to do so, it would also not surprise me to learn that it is a widely shared belief that deficit reduction must involve sacrifices in every area of federal spending—even among people who are not, in general, hostile to a federal role in education, or to education spending in general.
These are a big hurdles for education advocates to overcome.
More on the poll in Education Week: PDK/Gallup Poll Offers Glimpse into Americans Views of Public Education – K-12 Talent Manager – Education Week.
h/t Committee for Education Funding for the pointer to the article