Shutdown Education?

I was interested in knowing more about how the shutdown was affecting education. I heard a news report on WTOP radio this morning saying that financial aid offices at the universities are on hold due to the fact that most funds are federal grants, which spurred my immediate interest.

In the article, Shutdown in the Classroom, Slate reports the bottleneck of financial aid, WIC, and Head Start programs. The shut down is affecting those persons struggling to make it through. It is disconcerting that the persons who use these programs the most are those struggling to gain education for better job opportunities. The article highlights a woman juggling cleaning jobs, and college education classes who has children participating in Head Start. Should the shutdown continue, and the Head Start program close up shop, this mom will have to become more creative in juggling the kids, getting her paycheck, and obtaining skills to get a better job. Not super easy! The article says, “The effects of the federal shutdown on women and the working poor have compounded consequences for students who are both. What’s lost in our coverage is the context of the daily choices college students face, and how they are different for different kinds of students. Institutions of higher education may have contingency plans to buffer the effects of the government shutdown, but many of our neediest students do not.”

Education Week covers some questions in the article Answering your Shutdown Questions, where it discusses some aspects of education that will be impacting including:

  • School nutrition programs
  • Districts that get federal Impact Aid
  • Head Start
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Certain offices at DOEd

Education Week also notes that International Research is also hindered by the shutdown. In addition, the shutdown is negatively impacting military education funds.

Rick Hess argues that instead of reporting on what education programs will be hit by the shutdown, people should really start thinking about the bigger picture. The article states, “The price of federal funding is entering this whirlpool, and more federal support means more federal rules and more exposure to all the currents at play in D.C. It means that anticipated funding is subject to national tides, and that federal lawmakers will have a raft of temptations and pressures to write rules about what schools and colleges should do with federal funds…..Today, K-12 is largely buffered from the shutdown because of its reliance on state and local funds. Of course, even so, in return for their ten cents on the dollar, the feds have subjected schools and systems to expansive, invasive rules governing use of funds, special education, teacher evaluation, school accountability, school turnarounds, and much else.”

Is it time for the bigger conversation: how much government is too much government?