For the second year in a row, the U.S. House of Representatives has slated the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) for elimination in FY 2017. In contrast, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has funded MSAP at the current level of $96 million. Neither chamber of Congress funded the program at the president’s requested level of $115 million.
This action comes on the heels of a recent report by the Congressional General Accountability Office (GAO) that concluded that there has been a large increase in school segregation in America by race and class since 2001.
During a contentious debate of the bill in the House Appropriations Committee, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee from Oakland, CA expressed her opposition to the elimination of the program. Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro from New Haven, CT also called the cuts “deplorable” and introduced an amendment to restore funding to the program, along with 19 other education programs. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated by a party-line vote.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole said that the programs that were cut in his bill are either too small to make a meaningful impact on student achievement or are ineffective. Nevertheless, he chose to fund charter schools.
In response to this alarming action, we ask that you contact your elected officials and let them know that your magnet programs are making a real difference in your community and in the lives of students. Please take a couple minutes to visit our Grassroots Action Center and submit a message now.
Final funding decisions will be made by Congress this April. Please make sure your voice is heard!