What the Government Shutdown Means for Education

Each year, Congress must pass a bill to allocate funding for the federal government. The money is used to fund everything from public schools and the Social Security program to the military and our national parks. Funding for the federal government ran out at the end of the day on January 19th and the House and Senate were not able to come to an agreement on how to fund the government beyond that date.

With the House and Senate unable to reach an agreement, the government has shutdown. What does this mean for your child’s education?

Chances are the government shutdown won’t impact your child or the day-to-day operation of most schools. Because schools receive funding each year to cover the cost of the next year’s expenses, a government shutdown would only harm schools if the shutdown lasted for a long period of time.

While most parents have little to worry about during a government shutdown, here are a few ways our nation’s education system would be impacted:

  • The 1,200 school districts on federal land, such as military bases or Native American reservations, are funded on a different schedule than other public school districts and will be immediately impacted by a government shutdown;
  • Many U.S. Department of Education employees will be placed on temporary leave until funding is restored and cannot provide technical assistance or support to states or school districts; and
  • Programs like HeadStart that receive federal grants on a monthly basis would not be awarded funding if the government shutdown lasts to the first of the next month.

Though the situation doesn’t cause immediate concern for many families, we are fighting to ensure that Congress fulfills its responsibility and funds the government so essential services are not impacted.

NCLD will keep parents informed about any changes that might impact their child or their child’s school. Be sure to sign up for updates from NCLD to stay informed!


UPDATE:  On January 22nd, on day 3 of the government shutdown, Congress came to an agreement and passed a bill to fund the federal government through February 8th.

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