As several states continue to deal with budget shortfalls in a suffering economy, educational and critical learning programs (summer learning, after-school, gifted-and-talented, project-based learning, academic interventions) remain on the chopping block throughout the country. According to a new report by the state policy research arm of the National Governors Association, the NGA Center for Best Practices, as many as 39 States endured cuts in K-12 spending during the fiscal years for 2009 and 2010. Furthermore, K-12 education funding will still continue to experience reductions as state revenues are not projected to return to pre-recession levels until 2013. States were forced to make these cuts due to declining revenues from income taxes, sales taxes, and other sources that finance education and other public services.

As states restructure their spending priorities to address widening deficits during this unprecedented economic crisis, we must pay attention to how education will fare from state to state. While cuts have to be made, education cannot always be the first item to take major reductions in proportion to other state programs. Cuts in K-12 as well as in other learning programs will leave students without the resources and supports necessary to succeed in school thus becoming an incredible barrier to education reform and funding equity.

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