Debt Ceiling Deal’s Effects on K-12 Education Unclear

The Department of Education will face discretionary spending cuts.


The debt ceiling deal President Obama signed into law yesterday has some lawmakers worried about the potential impact on K-12 education.

U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., a high-ranking member on the House education committee, told the Associated Press that discretionary spending cuts imposed by the deal would "make life much more difficult for" public schools.

[Learn how April's budget deal affected the Department of Education.]

The deal will reduce federal spending by $7 billion in fiscal year 2012 and will create a new Congressional committee that will be in charge of cutting $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending over the next 10 years. The fiscal year begins October 1, 2011, and the committee will have to decide what cuts to make by early November. The Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of education advocates that lobbies for federal education funds, estimates that most agencies, including the Department of Education, will face cuts of about 6.7 percent.

Although the majority of public education funding comes from state and local governments—about 83 percent in 2004-2005—significant federal cuts could affect the early childhood program Head Start and spending on students with disabilities, among other areas, according to the Associated Press.

Education Week has more on the story, and for a look at what the deal might mean for higher education, check out Inside Higher Ed. New America also delves into the specifics of the deal.

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