Jul 18, 2012
FACT CHECK: Allen West Falsely Claims to Be Working for Florida Children
Despite Congressman Allen West’s (FL-18) claims in his new TV ad that he will stand up for Florida’s failing schools, Congressman West has done everything in his power to prevent Florida children and young adults from receiving a good education. In Congress, he has voted for billions in cuts that would hurt Florida children and students while relentlessly protecting tax breaks for millionaires and Big Oil companies making record profits.
Congressman West supports eliminating the Department of Education which would cut $11 billion in education funding to Florida schools and students. Under the West plan, Pell grant funding for college students, job training, teacher grants, special education programs, and school improvement grants would all be slashed.
Even as Florida students face a 15 percent tuition hike, Congressman West thinks Florida students shouldn’t have access to “communist” student loans and Pell grants.
Congressman West Suggested Federal Student Loans Are “Communist.” At a town hall meeting this month, Congressman Allen West said, “You can start dictating where people can go to school, loans that they can get and the payment of those loans. I gotta tell you, that’s something that's in a book written by Marx and Engels called the Communist Manifesto.” [Dania Beach Town Hall, 6/11/12]
West Voted for the House Republican Budget. On March 29, 2012, West voted in favor of the House Republican budget. [H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12]
NEA President Said Ryan Budget Would Cut 2 Million from Program Over the Next Decade. “The Ryan budget also would eliminate Head Start for more than two million children over the next decade, and it would kick out nearly 200,000 children from the program in 2014 alone.” [National Education Association, 3/28/12]
Ryan Budget Would Result in Almost $200 Million in Florida Title 1 Funding Over the Next Two Years. According to the National Education Association, the Ryan budget would result in $41.3 million in cuts to Title 1 funding in FY2013 and $145.5 million in cuts in FY2014. Additionally, the NEA predicted that almost 300,000 students would have reduced or eliminated services resulting from the budget. [National Education Association, accessed 7/18/12]
Ryan’s Plan Cuts Critical Education Programs. “The Department of Education would be cut by more than $115 billion over a decade. 9.6 million students would see their Pell Grants fall by more than $1000 in 2014, and, over the next decade, over one million students would lose support altogether. This would derail bipartisan education reforms and deeply undermine K-12 education and college opportunity. […] Roughly two million slots in Head Start would be eliminated over the next decade — cutting 200,000 children from the program in 2014 alone.” [OMB, 3/21/12]
Congressman West Voted for a Plan That Could Cut Pell Grants for 9.6 Million Students. On March 29, 2012, Congressman West voted in favor of a spending plan that could cut Pell grants by more than $1,000 in 2014 for 9.6 million students. [H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12; OMB, 3/21/12]
Two-Thirds of College Graduates Have Student Loans to Pay Off. “About two-thirds of college graduates have some student loans to pay off, and their average debt is about $25,000 to $28,700, according to estimates by education experts and organizations. (About 10% of those with loans owe more than $50,000 or so.)” [LA Times, 5/20/12]
Florida Students Already Expecting Tuition Hikes Up to 15%. “University leaders approved tuition hikes for Florida’s public universities ranging from nine to 15 percent. On average tuition will increase 700 dollars next year. It could go even higher for students who borrow money to pay for school.” [WJHG, 6/23/12]
West Supported Eliminating the Department of Education. According to the Miami Herald, Allen West “has called for the end of the U.S. Department of Education – a department he says has grown too much.” The Department of Education estimates that it will provide Florida $11,096,522,435 in federal funding for FY2013. [Miami Herald, 7/16/10; Department of Education, 7/10/12]