Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Budget Cuts to Pell Grants - A Short Sighted View

I have just finished reading the weekly White House Newsletter, which touts the importance of Education in furtherance of our National Goals. After all, neglecting Education is something we simply cannot afford to do! Of course, this newsletter came one day after the announcement about possibly cutting the Pell Grants, which the President also says we cannot afford. You cannot make this stuff up. He plans to cut the grants by $100 billion dollars over the next 10 years. Here is both the text of the White House Newsletter as well as the reply which I submitted, along with my request for a response, which they offer as an option. I will gladly print it here, when, and if, I ever receive one.

Good afternoon,

Just a few weeks ago, in my State of the Union Address, I spoke about how America can win the future by out-educating, out-innovating and out-building the rest of the world. I also talked about taking responsibility for our Nation's deficits, because we can’t win the future if we pass on a mountain of debt to our children and grandchildren.

Yesterday, I sent my budget proposal for 2012 to Congress, and I wanted to take a moment to explain some of the tough choices we had to make so we can afford to invest in our future.

Like American families, the Federal Government must live within its means. That means eliminating wasteful spending and cutting programs that aren't working. It also means that programs, like Community Development Block Grants, which I care about deeply, need to be scaled back to confront the crushing debt we face.

You can learn more about the budget proposal and watch Jack Lew, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, explain our approach here:

Getting our fiscal house in order requires shared sacrifice. But even in these tough times, we have a responsibility to make smart investments in our Nation's future.

That's why we must invest in innovation to ensure that the jobs and industries of the future are built right here in America. It's why we need to invest in roads, bridges, high-speed rail and high-speed Internet to help our businesses ship their goods and ideas around the world.

And it's why America must invest in education so that all of our children have an opportunity to fulfill their potential. Even though parents are the key to a child's education, we have a responsibility to ensure that America's students are prepared to compete and thrive in the 21st century global economy.

Yesterday, I visited Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology near Baltimore, Maryland. At Parkville, students gain a strong background in math, science and critical thinking skills that they will need to compete for the jobs of the 21st century. In fact, the most popular subject in their magnet program is engineering.

Investing in schools like Parkville, investing in quality teachers, investing in higher education – these are down payments on our children's and our country's future.

Here are just a few investments in education that I've proposed in the budget I sent to Congress:

•Preparing 100,000 new math, science and engineering teachers.

•Expanding Race to the Top, a reform program that has led more than 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning for less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year.

•Helping more kids afford college by making the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent and strengthening Pell Grants for 9 million students.

Here in Washington, we have to take a cue from millions of American families who have been tightening their belts while continuing to invest in their future. And that's exactly what my budget proposal does – it puts us on a path to live within our means so we can invest in our future.


President Barack Obama

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Here is my response;

Mr. President,

I am a subscriber to your White House Newsletter. I find it informative and I am glad to receive it.

But you must realize, that your judgment in touting education as a necessary part of America's future goals, a view with which I agree wholeheartedly, when you are advocating a cut of $100 billion dollars, over 10 years’ time, from the Pell Grants, is questionable at best.

I can only surmise that your words do not apply to your intentions in this instance. Please feel free to correct me in this matter if I am wrong.

When the tax cuts, which were once again extended to the rich, outweigh the cuts to the Pell Grants, which they do, there can be no excuse for the cuts. The Pell Grants are but a drop in the bucket when compared to the burden we will all share as a result of the tax cuts. As such, I am sorely disappointed in your stand on this issue.

Ah, would that it could be, that no Americans could read at all! It would then be possible for politicians to write anything they wished, without fear of their true meaning being understood by the people.

My Best Wishes to you, as you struggle with these and other issues,


Robert S. Williams

Contact as above, or at;

Here is a link to one of many articles concerning these cuts;

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