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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

July 3, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, issued the following statement after the Trump administration announced it will rescind Obama-era guidance that provides recommendations to boost diversity on campuses. “The Trump administration’s decision to rescind Obama-era guidance promoting campus diversity contradicts the Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas that schools have a compelling interest in pursuing a diverse student body. In addition, it disregards extensive research demonstrating the benefits of campus diversity for all students. Today, the Trump administration is once again eroding important civil rights protections without providing a legitimate rationale or legal justification.
June 30, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement in response to the Education Department’s delay of a rule that would ensure consumer protections for students enrolled in online college programs, many of which are at for-profit colleges, no matter where the school is physically located. “The Program Integrity and Improvement rule was a response to widespread confusion about state oversight of online programs. The rule made it clear that regardless of where an online education program is physically located, it must earn approval from any state where its students reside. The rule provided clarity for online programs and it reaffirmed that states have the right and the responsibility to maintain strong oversight over academic institutions.
June 29, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education announced a two-year delay of the Equity in IDEA rule. “The Education Department’s decision to delay the Equity in IDEA rule, which addresses disproportionate identification, placement, and disciplinary treatment of students of color with disabilities, is another example of this administration’s continued failure to protect students’ civil rights.
June 7, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, 6 months ago, Congress passed a tax cut that cost almost $2 trillion that overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the wealthy. Today, the Republicans are asking struggling children and families to foot the bill. Nearly half of the $15 billion in cuts in the Trump-GOP recessions package targets the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. While $7 billion may be a rounding error in the corporate tax cut, eliminating this funding from CHIP will jeopardize its ability to ensure access to healthcare for the children and families who depend on the program every year.
May 23, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. As the Representative of Hampton Roads, Virginia, I support the significant increase in Navy shipbuilding in the NDAA. But while we consider national defense, we must also consider school construction. Yesterday, U.S. banks reported $56 billion in first quarter profits. At the same time, our teachers are being forced to go on strike for a living wage and adequate funding for our public schools. But when the majority pushed its tax bill through Congress, it was the banks, not teachers and not the schools, that received the biggest benefit. H.R. 2475, the Rebuild America's Schools Act, would be a step forward in correcting our priorities by investing desperately needed funding into our public school infrastructure. This $100 billion proposal, which is barely 5 percent of what was spent on the tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, would go towards repairing crumbling public school buildings to ensure that every student has access to safe, healthy, and high-quality learning facilities.
May 16, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, there is a lot wrong with this bill, but as ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, I am particularly concerned about its impact on students. SNAP eligibility is tied to eligibility for other vital Federal programs, so the proposed cuts in SNAP eligibility will also cut access to free school meals for 265,000 children.
May 15, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5242. This legislation under consideration today will improve our understanding about the role of school resource officers. But we must acknowledge that this bill barely scratches the surface of what is actually required to keep our schools safe, and I urge this body to do more. In the wake of February's tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, many have called for a so-called Federal focus on hardening of our schools, which includes increasing Federal dollars to hire more police officers and embracing the most harsh punishments for school discipline, and even allowing school teachers to carry firearms, despite the overwhelming evidence that many of these initiatives do more harm than good.
April 27, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor an institution that has been at the forefront of education in America for the last 150 years. This April, Hampton University is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. To mark the occasion, I would like to take a moment and recognize the wonderful legacy of this institution of higher education that lives on today. The seeds from which Hampton University grew were planted in 1861. During the Civil War, Fort Monroe, the Union-controlled coastal fortress, was a beacon to slaves in Hampton, Virginia and the surrounding towns. General Benjamin Butler, Commanding Officer of the fort, had issued a declaration that any slaves that made it to Union lines would not be returned to their masters, but declared ``contraband of war.'' Overrun with slaves desiring their freedom, the Union created a camp for the refugees a few miles northwest of the fort. It was in this camp that Mary Smith Peake, a free black woman held classes for escapees under a large oak tree, in violation of Virginia law prohibiting the education of free or enslaved blacks.
April 25, 2018 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join my colleague from Virginia, Congressman Garrett. I want to thank him for organizing this evening's Special Order, but first I want to commend him for his work as a Virginia State senator for making April 23 Barbara Johns Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This April 23, Monday, marked the first official recognition of this important day in the Commonwealth. Almost 64 years ago, the Supreme Court struck down lawful school segregation in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. What few people know is that Virginia was one of the four cases decided that day. There were three other States, and Washington, D.C., had another case that was decided the same day. Virginia's involvement in Brown v. Board of Education stood out because that effort was led by a student, namely Barbara Johns. She was only 16 years of age. This stalwart figure in the struggle for equal education stood up to challenge the notion that African Americans should receive separate and unequal education under the law.