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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

Education

Supporting the Path to College and Career

As a senior member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congressman Scott believes that if we are going to properly prepare our country's youth for their future, we must ensure that we are giving them the fundamental tools necessary to grow into skillful and productive members of the workforce, starting from the beginning of childhood.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Congressman Scott is a strong supporter of early childhood education.  Research shows that early childhood education during a child’s early, formative years is critical to a child's brain development. Early education can help a child succeed academically as well as develop soft skills, such as curiosity and a motivation to learn. Studies have also shown that children who participate in a high quality early childhood education program are less likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, or be involved in violence or illegal drugs in later life.

Education Sec. Duncan and Rep. Scott read to students.One early childhood program that has been proven to be effective is Head Start and Early Head Start.  Congressman Scott is a strong supporter of Head Start, which was created in 1965 and is the most successful, longest-running, national early education and school readiness program in the U.S. Nearly 25 million pre-school aged children have benefited from Head Start programs nationwide. Head Start provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. Congressman Scott opposed the Budget Control Act of 2011 because he understood that sequestration's automatic, across-the-board cuts would slash Head Start, forcing children out of the program and onto a waiting list.  

PRIMARY/SECONDARY EDUCATION

Congressman Scott understands that Congress must work together to ensure that our elementary and secondary schools are not places where our children wither, but where they can thrive and grow. All children, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, language, country of origin, or disability, need to start off on an equal playing field the best education available. The U.S. currently struggles with an "achievement gap," certain groups of students - mainly minorities - fall far behind their higher-achieving peers. As long as the achievement gap exists, our children will be unable to reach their full potential.  Congressman Scott is committed to closing the achievement gap as Congress continues its work on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, recently known as the No Child Left Behind Act.

Additionally, Congress must address the dropout problem that many schools are facing. Unacceptably low graduation rates have been obscured and accepted for far too long due to inaccurate data, misleading calculations and reporting, and flawed accountability systems. Approximately one-third of our students leave high school without a diploma. As disappointing as that is, the numbers are worse still for low-income students and minorities – only slightly more than half of African-American and Hispanic students earn diplomas. Some schools, known as “dropout factories,” produce the majority of African American and Hispanic drop-outs. In order to  lower our nation's dropout rate, Congressman Scott has sponsored the Every Student Counts Act.  This legislation creates a high school graduation rate calculation that is consistent across states, requires reporting of graduation rates for different categories of students, sets meaningful graduation rate goals and targets, and removes incentives for schools to push out low-performing and at-risk students.  Congressman Scott is working to include provisions of the Every Student Counts Act in the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.

COLLEGE AND CAREER

A strong investment in education is one of the most important ways in which we can help keep America’s workforce and economy strong for future generations. A good education can be the difference between the minimum wage job that barely keeps a person afloat and a job with a living wage and full benefits. In addition to increased earnings, individuals with higher levels of education are less likely to be unemployed, receive public assistance, work in unskilled jobs with little upward mobility, and become involved in the criminal justice system. For these reasons, an education past the high school level – whether community college, a four year college, vocational training or a trade or apprentice program – is important not only for earnings, but also for landing a good job that can support a worker and their family.

But the truth is that a high school degree alone just does not get you as far as it used to. In order to succeed today, both individually and as a nation, we need to be making greater investments in education. For many, the problem is still access to quality education. In a weak economy, it is particularly difficult for students to find ways to pay tuition. Many students apply for Financial Aid, which often consists of scholarships, loans and grants, including the well known Pell Grant. Unfortunately, for many students, the Pell Grant does not cover the full cost of tuition. Congressman Scott is committed to increasing the maximum Pell Grant so that this grant can cover more of student's tuition as the price of higher education continues to rise.

Student loans are critical resources that most students need to pay for higher education. However, that is money that must be paid back with interest. Understanding the high cost of these loans to borrowers, policymakers are always looking for ways to make the burden easier on students once they graduate. For example, the Income-Based Repayment program currently allows borrowers to cap their monthly federal student loan payments at 15 percent of their discretionary income, which is based on the borrower's income and family size. However, Congress still needs to make sure that student loan interest rates are not unreasonably high, leaving students shackled to debt for the rest of their lives. Congress must continue to work to ensure that students are equipped with everything they need to pursue their degree and are not overly burdened with debt. Congressman Scott is working diligently to improve access to a quality education by supporting legislation that makes higher education more affordable and student borrowing less burdensom.

SCHOOL SAFETY

In the wake of the Newton, Connecticut mass shooting, Congressman Scott welcomes the national discussion about how to keep our schools and children safe. However, we must choose evidence-based solutions that have been been shown by research to improve school climate, reduce bullying and conflict, and foster student achievement.

Congressman Scott opposes the proposal to put armed guards and other law enforcement officers, such as school resource officers, in schools. Reports show that law enforcement officers frequently respond to student misbehavior by arresting the student and putting him or her in the juvenile justice system. Those reports also show that the children are less likely to be victims of crime if the school had hired more school counselors, instead of school resource officers (SROs). Research indicates that students who have contact with the criminal justice system are less likely to graduate and more likely to commit crimes as adults than students who are given in-school punishments, like detention. We must ensure that we are putting our nation's children on a school-to-college-and-career pipeline, not a school-to-prison pipeline.

For the past few sessions of Congress, Congressman Scott has introduced the "Center to Advance, Monitor, and Preserve University Security (CAMPUS) or CAMPUS Safety Act, to authorize the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to establish and operate a National Center for Campus Public Safety ("Center") and tasks the Center with strengthening the safety and security of institutions of higher education (IHEs). Unfortunately, the bill never made it fully through the legislative process and therefore didn't become law. Fortunately, the Department of Justice saw the value in the program and recently decided to form the Center on its own. Congressman Scott still hopes to see the bill made into law in the near future to ensure that the Center remains operational.

More on Education

February 22, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the White House announced that it will repeal the Obama Administration’s Title IX guidance protecting the rights of transgender students. “The impact of the Trump Administration’s repeal of the Title IX guidance leaves LGBTQ students in at least 31 states vulnerable to bullying and discrimination. A student’s right to equal education should not be impeded by an unsafe learning environment. “Last May, the Obama Administration’s Department of Education issued guidance to clarify that transgender students are protected under Title IX. That law, passed in 1972, prohibits disparate treatment, disparate impact, and retaliation based on sex in education.
February 14, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of myself and Representatives Robert Wittman, Donald McEachin, and Scott Taylor to honor Dr. Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, an extraordinary group of women from Hampton Roads, Virginia recently featured in the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Tomorrow evening, Senators WARNER, KAINE, and BROWN are joining me in hosting a screening of Hidden Figures here at the United States Capitol. I would like to take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of the remarkable women depicted in this film Breaking down barriers of both gender and race at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, these women, and many like them, laid the groundwork for John Glenn to become the first American to orbit the earth, and for Neil Armstrong to walk on the moon. I am proud that their stories are reaching a wider audience.
February 7, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.J. Res. 58, the joint resolution of disapproval of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to teacher preparation programs. This resolution would not only block the rule in question, but according to the rules of the CRA, it would tie the hands of this and of any future administration from re-regulating the provisions until a successful reauthorization of the Higher Education Act might take place. Mr. Speaker, this rule in question provides clarity to States on how to increase teacher preparation program quality, transparency, and the equitable distribution of well-prepared teachers. It was promulgated to enable compliance with the statutory provision included in the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
February 7, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I rise in strong opposition of H.J. Res. 57. This resolution takes aim at the heart of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. That bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. This resolution would strike down regulations that provide necessary clarity to States about what it means to ensure that all students are taught to high standards, and what it means to provide accurate data on student academic performance and resource equity. States now lack direction needed to proceed with implementation of the bill. Just last week, the Department removed all ESSA technical assistance to the States from the public domain, despite numerous and repeated requests for technical assistance from State and local leaders.
January 9, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for organizing this Special Order. I will be brief. There are a lot of people who want to speak. I will just speak to the jurisdiction of the Education and the Workforce Committee, on which I have the honor of serving as the ranking member. Mr. Speaker, as we consider appointments to the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, we shouldn't just look at people's personalities, but at what the policy implications are of their appointments. The Senate must reject those nominees who will fail to stand up to the goals and aspirations of America's children and workers. The first nominee I will speak to is that of Secretary of Labor, Mr. Puzder, who was the CEO of CKE Restaurants. He has spoken out many times in opposition to an increase in the minimum wage. Many States have recognized that the minimum wage is so low that people who work full time fail to make a wage that exceeds the poverty level. What is his position going to be on increasing the minimum wage? With overtime, are people entitled to work overtime after 40 hours? The regulation is in place. Will he enforce that new regulation? Or will he try to overturn the regulation that recognizes and honors the 40-hour workweek, whereby those who work more than 40 hours will get time and a half? If you look at CKE's retirement plan, it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of fees.
December 9, 2016 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) received the “Restoring the Balance” award from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan national organization committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures. Congressman Scott, the Ranking Member of House Committee on Education and the Workforce, received the award in recognition of his leadership in negotiating and advocating for the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.
September 22, 2016 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5963, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act. The legislation, sponsored by Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26), reauthorizes for the first time since 2002 the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974 to help states and local communities better serve at-risk youth and juvenile offenders. The legislation also includes language based on Congressman Scott’s Youth PROMISE Act (H.R. 2197) that restructures JJDPA’s Local Delinquency Prevention Grants to encourage communities to plan and implement evidence-based prevention and intervention programs specifically designed to reduce juvenile delinquency and gang involvement.
September 20, 2016 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Chairman Kline, Subcommittee Chair ROKITA, and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Curbelo) for their work, and also, on our side, Representatives DAVIS of California, ADAMS, and WILSON of Florida for their work on this legislation. Mr. Speaker, juvenile courts were established by States over 100 years ago on the emerging legal theory that children should not be held fully responsible for their actions, a theory proven by scientific research into impulse control and brain development. The capacity to rehabilitate children became the focus of the system rather than punishment of offenders. Congress first articulated national standards of juvenile justice in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974.
September 14, 2016 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As students return to school this month, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) wants to remind interested students about the 2016 Congressional App Challenge competition, which is open to students living in or attending school in Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.
September 13, 2016 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5587, the Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century Act, which would reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education program. The research is clear: the United States workforce is suffering from a skills gap. According to one study, 65 percent of all jobs in the United States in the near future will require at least some education or training past the high school level--not necessarily a 4-year degree, but some education and training past the high school level. In Virginia alone, we have thousands of jobs in the tech sector that go unfilled because of the lack of qualified applicants. Some of those jobs have salaries of $88,000. Today's CTE program is not the vocational education of the past, where students pursued a career rather than academic studies. Now the current programs integrate the academic curriculum which will assist in preparing participants for postsecondary education and credentials.