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Education Secretary's Scary Sequester Claims About Teachers and Pink Slips 'Not Backed By Evidence' Says WaPo Fact-Checker


"There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall."

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the government spending cuts scheduled to take effect on March 1 have already resulted in teachers being laid off.

“There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall,” Duncan said.

But is this true? The Washington Post (WaPo) doesn’t think so.

“When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, ‘whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know,’” reads the reports.

Yeah, it’s not sequester-related.

“Officials in Kanawha County, West Virginia say that the ‘transfer notices’ sent to at least 104 educators had more to do with a separate matter that involves a change in the way West Virginia allocates federal dollars designated for poor children,” the report notes.

“The transfer notices are required by state law and give teachers a warning that they may be moved to a different position next school year. They don’t necessarily mean a teacher has been laid off,” the report adds,

“It’s not like we’re cutting people’s jobs at this point,” Pam Padon, director of federal programs and Title 1 for the Kanawha County public schools, told the Washington newspaper.

She added that of the 104 notices sent out, probably only five or six teachers will be fired -- and none of it has to do with the sequester.

“The major impact is not so much sequestration,” Padon said. “Those five or six jobs would already be gone regardless of sequestration.”

But here’s the kicker: Head Start teachers were notified of possible layoffs not because of sequester, but because the Obama administration had labeled the Kanawha County program “deficient.”

“The county is assuming that it will not operate a Head Start program next year,” the report adds, citing an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.



Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images.

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