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Obama Warns Of Cuts To Special Education


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The White House is urging Congress to take action to avert a series of deep spending cuts expected to impact special education and other disability-related programs within weeks.

President Barack Obama is calling on lawmakers to pass a short-term budget deal to stall the automatic spending cuts scheduled to impact nearly all government programs come March 1. At that point, across-the-board cutbacks totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years are expected under a process known as sequestration that was triggered when Congress failed to reach a budget deal in 2011.

“The result could be a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole,” Obama said in his weekly radio address Saturday, in which he cited Americans with disabilities as one group that would be impacted by the cuts.

The White House said that everything from health services to rental assistance programs are at risk if Congress does not intervene.

Specifically, funding for as many as 7,200 special education teachers, aides and staff may be chopped, research dollars provided through the National Institutes of Health would be on the line, mental health offerings would be reduced and Social Security services would be curtailed, the administration said.

While Republicans are not high on sequestration either, the looming cuts are presenting potential for yet another impasse between the political parties. Republicans are pressing for any budget deal to include more spending reductions while Obama favors a mix of cuts and increased tax revenue.

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Comments (30 Responses)

  1. Rayne says:

    The last thing we need is for there to be cuts to special education programs and especially the mental health sector. We are already so far behind where we need to be and to cut back now would produce more tragedies for everyone every where.

  2. Kathi Payne says:

    Praying for our country…..praying for our President…..praying all can come to a settlement for our betterment. In Jesus’ name….Amen.

  3. Cynthia Tavarez says:

    My son is 11 years old and has Down Syndrome I love his teachers they all work awsome my son loves his teachers cutting back would be a huge loss fo our children

  4. Karen says:

    Okay, so the big push is on gun control, but not the education and mental health services that would help prevent some of the gun violence?

  5. specialedmommy says:

    So maybe he should stop his wreckless spending and funding the Muslim Brotherhood and countries that hate us and a budget can be reached. What he LIES about is that if he would work wtih congress we would reach a budget. But no, he divides our country and villifies rather than be a man. Don’t believe any of them. Work hard for your kids yourselves.

  6. Kim Maska says:

    Please Mr. President, we cannot afford to have these programs cut! It is our chldren’s only hope of becoming productive adults! We need all the help we can get. Our health insurance only covers so much. Typically, parents of children on the spectrum are already tens of thousands of dollars getting our children the help they need. Research shows that a lot of families are forced into bankruptcy trying to help out children. Now you are going to cut their services even more? Why don’t you just throw our special needs children away now!! If they don’t get the education from our schools and teachers that is what you will be doing, throwing our children away. Once they become adults, these kids will be depending on the government for disability. It doesn’t make sense to me. It seems like you want to save money now to only spend much much more down the line! Education is the backbone of our Nation for ALL our children!! Give them the proper education and maybe they wont need to depend on the government for services as adults. Take it away and i promise you they will depend on the government for the rest of their lives. I beg you not to cut or sell our special needs children so short! If one of your children were in this situation you would see it much different!! I promise you that!!

  7. Betty Young says:

    Put the blame where it belongs, on your “esteemed” Republican colleagues, who would rather the nation go to hell in a handbasket than to ensure that the most vulnerable of our citizens have help.

  8. Diane Bailey says:

    I applaud your “letter to the President” Karen, but I will almost guarantee that it will not be read here. We as parents need to really fight this….not by posting on blogs, but by getting actively involved. Write letters, send them TO President Obama! Send them to your local congressmen. Send them where they can be heard. We can all sit here an complain, but that isn’t going to get us anywhere. We have been here before. I am sure we will be here again. But we have to fight, we have to be vocal, to be effective. Our children are just as important as any other child…no one knows the plans that God has for our kids. They have to be given every opportunity to succeed. I fight daily with the school system my daughter attends for them to push her, challenge her, not just sit back and think,”she has Downs, we don’t have to push her, she will only achieve so much”. My daughter has proven them wrong every time. Wake up world and recognize that the more we educate children with special needs, the less of a burden they will be as adults.

  9. Diane Bailey says:

    Meant kim…not Karen….sorry! :)

  10. Wayne Kulick says:

    Why is it always people with disabilities, retirees, educational professionals, mental health etc. that this President attempts to threaten with these potential budget reductions? Aren’t there millions of other government employees that could be affected, too? Perhaps if sequestration targeted ALL government workers including the salaries of congressmen/women we would see more interest from Congress on this subject. But then who would this President have left to scare???

  11. Holly says:

    I have read through a synopsis of the sequester bill, but do not remember seeing mention of anything related to special education. Can anyone reference the exact section?? I’d like to read the specifics for myself.

  12. jack martin says:

    i am not a gun supporter, but the way the republican attack on the people who need help could make me change my mind!

  13. helen says:

    Hasn’t anybody learned a damn thing yet? One day you hear they will be putting more money in place for mental health and special education and now this? It makes me sick to my stomach!

  14. Tacitus says:

    Gee we got budget problems? Maybe he shouldn’t have cut taxes!

  15. Sue says:

    Umm… Did you guys skip over the first sentence? It says “The White House is urging Congress to take action…” and you guys (in typical “we hate this president” form) are addressing our president when he is begging Congress to take action so that our special needs children aren’t affected.The Obama Administration has done lots for the ADA. Vice your complaints to Republican party who controls Congress and an 8th grade government class wouldn’t hurt either.

  16. CP_Lady says:

    I agree with Wayne! Why do the President and congress always threaten to make cuts to programs that affect our most vulnerable citizens, but they never talk about reduces their own salaries? Look how much money they waste by have huge extravagant events and going on “business” vacations. When they discuss making budget cuts, they should first consider how they can reduce their own outrageous spending! However, that will never happen because I believe most of them (both Democrats and Republicans) only care about their own power and wealth.

  17. Jack Daly says:

    Although we seem to have an endless stream of politicians, our supply of statesmanship is at an alarming low. As might be expected, the poor, the defenseless, the disenfranchised are prime targets for proposed spending cuts….and for those without the financial clout to apply to our current crop of legislators, there is only one recourse – embarrass them. Publicise their self-serving bill-chasing.Their toadying for Moneyed Interests. Embarrass them by shining light on their disregard for our most vulnerable citizens. Nothing will change if such behavior is allowed to stay below the Public Radar.

  18. Luanne says:

    I think that it is awful to cut these services for the people that really NEED them! I have a 3 yr old daughter with DS and we are always having to fight to get her services that she needs!! Our expectation for her is to live on her own, how can she do that if all of the services are cut?? Our society needs to look at other places to cut NOT Special Education in schools. We need to find the people that abuse the system and get them off it!
    Please do not let this happen!!!!!

  19. CJB says:

    Put the blame where it belongs, on your liberal colleagues, who would rather the nation go to hell in a handbasket than to ensure that the most vulnerable of our citizens have help.

  20. CJB says:

    The Democrats are in control of Congress.

  21. F Dang says:

    Prior to 1975, children with disabilities were warehoused in schools instead of being educated. People with disabilities, on the whole, did not have a place in society. They were second class citizens. A person with disabilities did not have a bright future to look forward to like you and I. They mostly stayed at home cared for by their parents. When the parents became to old to care for them they were moved to a relative homes or institutionalized.

    When Public Law 94-142 was passed in 1975, it was the beginning of the ending of discrimination against people with disabilities. The Government said that people with disabilites had a right to access education that was offered, at that time, only to non-disabled student. If congress is thinking about not acting on keeping the funding for Special Education they are essentially affecting the Civil Rights of our children. Our children will not be able to access the Education they need in order for them to have a future that includes them in the American Society. Tell congress to go play games with their own toys not with our children.

    I don’t see why we are blaming Obama. If you have been listening to the Rhetoric coming from Congress for the last 4 year, along with the two Presidential races, You can get a clue where it’s coming from, The more extreme right wing groups. They kept announcing their position on National television.

  22. CJB says:

    No right wing group has ever said they will cut spending for people with disabilities. Your “facts” are wrong. It was a Republic President who signed the ADA into law. Now, that’s a fact.

  23. CJB says:

    No one is cutting spending for the disabled. This article is atypical left wing agenda piece meant to frighten you. The Dems try to rule by putting fear into their base. The real fear is that the bigger the government, the less freedom its citizens have.

  24. F Dang says:

    You’re correct I never really heard a person from a right wing group ever say to cut spending to people with disabilities. But, If you happened to catch Ryan Paul’s first national broadcast, he stated during the interview that one of the things he wants to change is having a business be able to be able to choose who they want in their business. He got hammered on this statement. Essentially he is rolling back the Civil Rights laws of non discrimination. The tenor of the right wing group’s message is essentially one of cutting back of Social Security and Medicare. Being 65 yo and on Social Security and Medicare, this is a topic that I closely follow. If you look at the various Republican states look at the laws they are enacting, They tend to deny access to certain groups of citizen in their attempts to utilized their rights under the constitution. Oh yeah, ever since Obama took office the Grand Old Party has been the Party in Charge, During Obama’s second term he is resorting to different accomplishing what he thinks is good for the nation.In the past the GOP has done some really good legislation. But that was a time when people worked together. Most recently the shout from the GOP has been “our way or the highway”, and there is no room for negotiation.

    But enough of this., I apologize to the the other participants who have posted a response to the article.. I didn’t mean to change the focus to an entirely different subject.

    Parents of children who have a disabilities need to start speaking to their congressional representatives. To share with them your concerns. Parents should also start working with advocate groups and unify.

    Good Luck to all.

  25. Nathalie says:

    Special Education as in the deaf community are required to have extra help and with the cuts which will cause huge mishap for the deaf programs, deaf schools, and everywhere in the US – pls do something about this – that also goes for any special needs in their community…Teacher dealing with the special needs and deaf students alone will not help at all as they do need back up..

  26. Kathy Connor says:

    So maybe if the Feds stop this, we can save our children!!

    The 102 worst ways the government is spending your tax dollars:
    102: Protecting a Michigan insect collection from other insects ($187,632)
    101: Highway beautified by fish art in Washington ($10,000)
    100: University studying hookup behavior of female college coeds in New York ($219,000)
    99: Police department getting 92 blackberries for supervisors in Rhode Island ($95,000)
    98: Upgrades to seldom-used river cruise boat in Oklahoma ($1.8 million)
    97: Precast concrete toilet buildings for Mark Twain National Forest in Montana ($462,000)
    96: University studying whether mice become disoriented when they consume alcohol in Florida ($8,408)
    95: Foreign bus wheel polishers for California ($259,000)
    94: Recovering crab pots lost at sea in Oregon ($700,000)
    93: Developing a program to develop “machine-generated humor” in Illinois ($712,883)
    92: Colorado museum where stimulus was signed (and already has $90 million in the bank) gets geothermal stimulus grant ($2.6 million)
    91: Grant to the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance to support the traditional arts apprenticeship program, gathering and festival ($30,000)
    90: Studying methamphetamines and the female rat sex drive in Maryland ($30,000)
    89: Studying mating decisions of cactus bugs in Florida ($325,394)
    88: Studying why deleting a gene can create sex reversal in people, but not in mice in Minnesota ($190,000)
    87: College hires director for a project on genetic control of sensory hair cell membrane channels in zebrafish in California ($327,337)
    86: New jumbo recycling bins with microchips embedded inside to track participation in Ohio ($500,000)
    85: Oregon Federal Building’s “green” renovation at nearly the price of a brand new building ($133 million)
    84: Massachusetts middle school getting money to build a solar array on its roof ($150,000)
    83: Road widening that could have been millions of dollars cheaper if Lousiana hadn’t opted to replace a bridge that may not have needed replacing ($60 million)
    82: Cleanup effort of a Washington nuclear waste site that already got $12 billion from the DOE ($1.9 billion)
    81: Six woodlands water taxis getting a new home in Texas ($750,000)
    80: Maryland group gets money to develop “real life” stories that underscore job and infrastructure-related research findings ($363,760)
    79: Studying social networks like Facebook in North Carolina ($498,000)
    78:18 North Carolina teacher coaches to heighten math and reading performance ($4.4 million)
    77: Retrofitting light switches with motion sensors for one company in Arizona ($800,000)
    76: Removing graffiti along 100 miles of flood-control ditches in California ($837,000)
    75: Bicycle lanes, shared lane signs and bike racks in Pennsylvania ($105,000)
    74: Privately-owned steakhouse rehabilitating its restaurant space in Missouri ($75,000)
    73: National dinner cruise boat company in Illinois outfitting vessels with surveillance systems to protect against terrorists ($1 million)
    72: Producing and transporting peanuts and peanut butter in North Carolina ($900,000)
    71: Refurnishing and delivering picnic tables in Iowa ($30,000)
    70: Digital television converter box coupon program in D.C. ($650 million)
    69: Elevating and relocating 3,000 feet of track for the Napa Valley Wine Train in California ($54 million)
    68: Hosting events for Earth Day, the summer solstice etc. in Minnesota ($50,000)
    67: Expanding ocean aquaculture in Hawaii ($99,960)
    66: Raising railroad tracks 18 inches in Oregon because the residents of one small town were tired of taking a detour around them ($4.2 million)
    65: Professors and employees of Iowa state universities voluntarily taking early retirement ($43 million)
    64: Minnesota theatre named after Che Guevara putting on “socially conscious” puppet shows ($25,000)
    63: Replacing a basketball court lighting system with a more energy efficient one in Arizona ($20,000)
    62: Repainting and adding a security camera to one bridge in Oregon ($3.5 million)
    61: Missouri bridge project that already was full-funded with state money ($8 million)
    60: New hospital parking garage in New York that will employ less people ($19.5 million)
    59: University in North Carolina studying why adults with ADHD smoke more ($400,000)
    58: Low-income housing residents in one Minnesota city receiving free laptops, WiFi and iPod Touches to “educate” them in technology ($5 million)
    57: University in California sending students to Africa to study why Africans vote they the way they do in their elections ($200,000)
    56: Researching the impact of air pollution combined with a high-fat diet on obesity development in Ohio ($225,000)
    55: Studying how male and female birds care for their offspring and how it compares to how humans care for their children in Oklahoma ($90,000)
    54: University in Pennsylvania researching fossils in Argentina (over $1 million)
    53: University in Tennessee studying how black holes form (over $1 million)
    52: University in Oklahoma sending 3 researchers to Alaska to study grandparents and how they pass on knowledge to younger generations ($1.5 million)
    51: Grant application from a Pennsylvania university for a researcher named in the Climate-gate scandal (Rep. Darrell Issa is calling on the president to freeze the grant) ($500,000)
    50: Studying the impact of global warming on wildflowers in a Colorado ghost town ($500,000)
    49: Bridge built over railroad crossing so 168 Nebraska town residents don’t have to wait for the trains to pass ($7 million)
    48: Renovating an old hotel into a visitors center in Kentucky ($300,000)
    47: Removing overgrown weeds in a Rhode Island park ($250,000)
    46: Renovating 5 seldom-used ports of entry on the U.S.-Canada border in Montana ($77 million)
    45: Testing how to control private home appliances in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts from an off-site computer ($800,000)
    44: Repainting a rarely-used bridge in North Carolina ($3.1 million)
    43: Renovating a desolate Wisconsin bridge that averages 10 cars a day ($426,000)
    42: 4 new buses for New Hampshire ($2 million)
    41: Repaving a 1-mile stretch of Atlanta road that had parts of it already repaved in 2007 ($490,000)
    40: Florida beauty school tuition ($2.3 million)
    39: Extending a bike path to the Minnesota Twins stadium ($500,000)
    38: Beautification of Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard ($1.1 million)
    37: Colorado Dragon Boat Festival ($10,000)
    36: Developing the next generation of supersonic corporate jets in Maryland that could cost $80 million dollars each ($4.7 million)
    35: New spring training facilities for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies ($30 million)
    34: Demolishing 35 old laboratories in New Mexico ($212 million)
    33: Putting free WiFi, Internet kiosks and interactive history lessons in 2 Texas rest stops ($13.8 million)
    32: Replacing a single boat motor on a government boat in D.C. ($10,500)
    31: Developing the next generation of football gloves in Pennsylvania ($150,000)
    30: Pedestrian bridge to nowhere in West Virginia ($80,000)
    29: Replacing all signage on 5 miles of road in Rhode Island ($4,403,205)
    28: Installing a geothermal energy system to heat the “incredible shrinking mall” in Tennessee ($5 million)
    27: University in Minnesota studying how to get the homeless to stop smoking ($230,000)
    26: Large woody habitat rehabilitation project in Wisconsin ($16,800)
    25: Replacing escalators in the parking garage of one D.C. metro station ($4.3 million)
    24: Building an airstrip in a community most Alaskans have never even heard of ($14,707,949)
    23: Bike and pedestrian paths connecting Camden, N.J. to Philadelphia, Penn. when there’s already a bridge that connects them ($23 million)
    22: Sending 10 university undergrads each year from North Carolina to Costa Rica to study the rainforests ($564,000)
    21: Road signs touting stimulus funds at work in Ohio ($1 million)
    20: Researching how paying attention improves performance of difficult tasks in Connecticut ($850,000)
    19: Kentucky Transportation Department awarding contracts to companies associated with a road contractor accused of bribing the previous state transportation secretary ($24 million)
    18: Amtrak losing $32 per passenger nationally but rewarded with windfall ($1.3 billion)
    17: Widening an Arizona interstate even though the company that won the contract has a history of tax fraud and pollution ($21.8 million)
    16: Replace existing dumbwaiters in New York ($351,807)
    15: Deer underpass in Wyoming ($1,239,693)
    14: Arizona universities examining the division of labor in ant colonies (combined $950,000)
    13: Fire station without firefighters in Nevada ($2 million)
    12: “Clown” theatrical production in Pennsylvania ($25,000)
    11: Maryland town gets money but doesn’t know what to do with it ($25,000)
    10: Investing in nation-wide wind power (but majority of money has gone to foreign companies) ($2 billion)
    9: Resurfacing a tennis court in Montana ($50,000)
    8: University in Indiana studying why young men do not like to wear condoms ($221,355)
    7: Funds for Massachusetts roadway construction to companies that have defrauded taxpayers, polluted the environment and have paid tens of thousands of dollars in fines for violating workplace safety laws (millions)
    6: Sending 11 students and 4 teachers from an Arkansas university to the U.N. climate change convention in Copenhagen, using almost 54,000 lbs of carbon dioxide from air travel alone ($50,000)
    5: Storytelling festival in Utah ($15,000)
    4: Door mats to the Department of the Army in Texas ($14,675)
    3: University in New York researching young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke pot ($389,357)
    2: Solar panels for climbing gym in Colorado ($157,800)
    1: Grant for one Massachusetts university for “robobees” (miniature flying robot bees) ($2 million)
    GRAND TOTAL: $4,891,645,229

  27. Sue says:

    There is no use in trying to educate people who are hell bent on blaming Obama for everything. Conservatives do control Congress. Yes, the ADA was signed into law by a Republican ans had since then been strengthened by our president (as well as some others). Also, cutting social security IS cutting funding to those with disabilities.

  28. Janice says:

    When special education funding is cut, it has the most impact on African American male children and other children with disabilities that can have a negative effect on how they learn. Many of them are from lower income families as well. Why do people with lower incomes and disabilities n on always feel the heat first when the government makes cuts. Special education services can assist children living with disabilities with become successful. The point is to provide them with what they need as you teach them to be successful without being dependant. If too many cuts are made in this area, what will become of them? Obama promised to make cuts that are related to the wealthy not the poor.

  29. Autism Dan says:

    I agree with CP Lady and also suggest money can be recouped for special education by cutting Congress automatic pay hikes, Federal employees automatic pay hikes, both parties profit from insider trading, Obama family’s interminable vacations and the earmarks of both parties. In my opinion, American’s worthy of entitlements first are special needs people who do not choose to be care-dependent as opposed to those able-bodied slicksters who “work the system”.

  30. Accountability says:

    While I don’t agree with the disturbance of funding to special needs students, there does need to be some form of accountability. In a state which will remain nameless, some teachers NEVER see proof that money is being used for special needs students. They are requesting materials and they never receive them. They end up buying what is needed to teach their students. They are told to order needed supplies for special needs classrooms which NEVER materialize.

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