Backlash over Proposed Funding Cuts to Special Education

Brian Kataro, Staff Writer

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The Special Olympics is one of the most well- known organizations in the world, bolstering nearly five million competitors all around Earth, and spanning 172 countries according to the organization. In the United States, the organization is funded by the government, receiving approximately 17.6 million dollars, which gives the Special Olympics a far greater reach in terms of spreading awareness of the cause, as well as allowing them to expand its list of competitors, allowing many more people (as young as 8) to participate in the event.

Recently, however, the government considered cutting the funding for the Special Olympics, as well as decrease funding for blind and deaf students by over 20 million dollars. On March 26th, Betsy DeVos (U.S. Secretary of Education) spoke to Congress in order to have the action entered into effect, a meeting that would span three days until Thursday, March 28th. Almost immediately, DeVos received an outstanding amount of backlash, from both the public and many congress people, Barbara Lee of California saying, “I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget” calling it appalling. Throughout all of the harsh judgment, however, DeVos held her ground on the cut proposals.

Eventually, by March 28th, President Trump denounced his administration’s decision to cut funding for the Special Olympics and special services for the blind and deaf, stating to reporters, “The Special Olympics will be funded … I just told my people, I wanna fund the Special Olympics…I’ve been to the Special Olympics, I think it’s incredible and I just authorized a funding”, backing out of the cuts that had been a part of some of his recent budget cuts.

Following the retraction, DeVos said that she was, in fact, relieved that the funding to the Special Olympics was not cut, as she actually supported the organization, supposedly in the background during the hearings before Congress, and stated that she was forced to follow the orders given to her through the government, not through her own interest.