If you thought cutting back your own budget was tough, think about what Congress has to consider. This isn’t a matter of pilates class vs. oat milk latte; this is helpful organization vs. helpful organization.
Still, when the Trump administration proposed to eliminate federal funding for the Special Olympics earlier this week, many politicians and athletes reacted with “no, not that!”
To be clear, this is not the first time cutting Special Olympics funding came up in Congress. Last year’s proposal by the Trump administration also suggested cutting funding, but ultimately it didn’t happen.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos defended the proposal in a press release: “Make no mistake: we are focused every day on raising expectations and improving outcomes for infants and toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and are committed to confronting and addressing anything that stands in the way of their success.”
“The President’s budget reflects that commitment. It supports our nation’s 7 million students with disabilities through a $13.2 billion request for IDEA funding, the same funding level appropriated by Congress. All of that money goes directly to states to ensure students with disabilities have the resources and supports they need. The budget also requests an additional $225.6 million for competitively awarded grants to support teacher preparation, research and technical assistance to support students with disabilities.
DeVos argued that the Special Olympics receives plenty of private funding: “more than $100 million every year.” DeVos herself donated more than $50,000 to Special Olympics last year.
Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver said he disagreed.
“Our schools are ready for a different message, our young people believe that everybody counts,” he said in an interview on MSNBC.”Give these young people the chance to shine. The country is starving for this.”
Shriver is calling for constituents to call their members of Congress and tell them what the Special Olympics mean to them.
We need your help NOW! Help us continue to reach nearly 3 million young people across the country. Call your Member of Congress. Ask them to sign the Dear Colleague letter supporting Special Olympics & share why Special Olympics is important to YOU ➡️ https://t.co/NZZYdzGxGX pic.twitter.com/fIViezjuTJ— Special Olympics (@SpecialOlympics) March 27, 2019
To learn more about the potential cut and why it may or may not happen, read The New York Time’s article “Betsy DeVos Wants to Cut Special Olympics Funding. Here’s Why It Probably Won’t Happen.”