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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

June 15, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, June 15, 2017, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) received the 2017 Bill Emerson and Mickey Leland Hunger Leadership Award from the Congressional Hunger Center during their annual awards ceremony. The organization works to advance the issues of domestic and global hunger for U.S. policymakers. “I am honored to receive the 2017 Bill Emerson and Mickey Leland Hunger Leadership Award from the Congressional Hunger Center,” said Rep. Scott. “Although we have made great strides toward addressing hunger both here at home and abroad, our work is not yet done. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, it is estimated that over 790 million people worldwide, are suffering from chronic hunger.
May 23, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx) and the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Lewis) for working with this side of the aisle on bipartisan comprehensive reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Juvenile courts were established by States in the first half of the 20th century based on the emerging legal theory that children should not be held as fully responsible for their actions as adults, a theory borne out over time by scientific research on impulse control and brain development. The opportunity to rehabilitate children became the focus of the system rather than punishment of offenders. Congress first articulated national standards for juvenile justice in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, or JJDPA. Long overdue for reauthorization, the bill creates important core protections for our children in the juvenile justice system in each State.
May 23, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the White House released its Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal that cuts $9 billion from the Department of Education, slashes funding for the Department of Labor by 20 percent, and diminishes the Department of Health and Human Services’ ability to deliver early learning programs and health care for the American people. “A budget is a reflection of priorities and in this proposal, President Trump has prioritized tax cuts for the wealthy over children, students, working families and older Americans. This budget undermines public education by directing federal dollars to voucher schemes and cutting Title I funding for high-poverty school districts. The budget also makes it harder to pay for college, guts effective job training programs, puts the health and safety of workers at risk, and attacks the civil rights of every American.
May 23, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1808, the Improving Support for Missing and Exploited Children Act. This bill will strengthen recovery and prevention efforts of missing and exploited children by renewing and updating support for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or NCMEC. The terror experienced by parents of a missing child is unfathomable. Both the child and the parents experience pain, trauma, fear, and uncertainty. This is why affected families need the full support of law enforcement, schools, businesses, and other entities that may be able to assist in locating and recovering missing or exploited children.
May 23, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017 by voice vote. Introduced by Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) the bipartisan legislation reauthorizes and reforms the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) to help state and local leaders better serve juvenile offenders and at-risk youth. “Today’s bipartisan work in the House brings us one step closer to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline,” said Ranking Member Scott. “H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act, includes necessary improvements to federal juvenile crime policy that are firmly grounded in evidence. The bill strengthens the basic protections for children in the juvenile systems in all states. It also ensures public dollars are invested in a continuum of evidence-based initiatives, and alternatives to incarceration and secure detention. We know this strategy produces positive results for at-risk youth that lead to reduced crime and long-term savings. This policy is based on the Youth PROMISE Act, legislation I first introduced in 2007, and I’m glad that we are able to pass the core parts of the Youth PROMISE Act today.”
May 11, 2017 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – On Friday, May 12, 2017, Congressman Bobby Scott will tour the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia in Norfolk, Virginia. During the tour, Congressman Scott will view the weekly food distribution for programs such as Helping Hands. Congressman Scott will also meet with staff to discuss the importance of child nutrition programs, including after-school meal programs. For millions of students, after-school and weekend meal programs fill the hunger gap that may exist for low-income students and these programs are essential to their healthy growth and development.
May 8, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after President Trump suggested financing for Historically Black Colleges and Universities may be unconstitutional: “The President issued a signing statement calling into question the constitutional status of federally-designated Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the programs that serve them. While he has since issued another statement attempting to clarify his support for HBCUs, there has been no revision to clarify that HBCUs are in fact constitutional. HBCUs are on a solid legal footing, as the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) spelled out in their response to the President attached here. I hope the President revises his statement and leaves no doubt that he believes that HBCUs are constitutional.”
May 1, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1242, the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act, which was introduced earlier this year by Senators Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Roy Blunt, and Cory Booker. I was proud to introduce the House version, which has the support of Representatives TAYLOR, RICHMOND, WITTMAN, BEYER, MCEACHIN, LEWIS, COMSTOCK, CONNOLLY, GRIFFITH, GOODLATTE, and many others. I would like to thank Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings, Mr. Comer, and Mr. Connolly for their assistance in bringing the bill to the floor today. This bill would establish a commission to begin the planning of programs and activities across our Nation to recognize the contributions of African Americans since their first arrival as African slaves in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619, almost 400 years ago.
April 21, 2017 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – On Tuesday April 25, 2017, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) will meet with the Elizabeth River Project to discuss the impact of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program and other federal programs designed to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and encourage environmental literacy. Congressman Scott will take a river tour to see federally funded restoration efforts on the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River, including an oyster reef, NOAA funded Learning Barge field trips, and Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development funded projects of the Harbor Park and Chesterfield shorelines. Programs that fund these projects have been targeted for significant cuts in President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. If enacted, these cuts will jeopardize the work that has already been done to restore the Elizabeth River and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries.
April 16, 2017 In The News
This weekend, our nation marks the 10th anniversary of the horrific mass shooting that occurred at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. That tragedy claimed the lives of 32 people and left 17 others wounded. The effects still resonate, in our commonwealth and the nation. As we take time to remember, mourn and celebrate the lives of the students and faculty members who died, members of Congress must come together to address the epidemic of gun violence so as to make sure tragedies such as the one at Virginia Tech and so many others never happen again.