Duncan: ‘Dumb cuts’ from sequester will cost thousands of teachers their jobs

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday that sequestration would have a devastating effect on school systems around the country.

Duncan said that teachers around the country were already being informed that they won’t be retained, and that some 40,000 teachers in all could lose their jobs.

Head Start and programs for children with parents in the military could also be hurt by the $85 billion in sequester cuts, Duncan said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“We don’t have any ability with dumb cuts like this to figure out what the right thing to do is,” Duncan said. “It just means a lot more children will not get the kinds of opportunities and services they need.”

Duncan has joined other members of the Obama administration, like Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in trying to point out the real-world implications for the sequester, which is scheduled to go into effect on Friday.

The Education secretary added that the debate over sequestration is taking away from what could be more fruitful discussions over how to limit gun violence.

“That’s where I think we should be spending our time, is talking about how we reduce gun violence. That’s the productive use of our time,” Duncan said. “Spending time talking about stupid issues like this in Congress doesn’t make sense.”