Supporting the Path to College and Career
As the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, 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. That is why he is the lead sponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act, a comprehensive early learning and child care bill to ensure affordable, high-quality child care for working middle class families and those living paycheck to paycheck.
Congressman Scott is also a strong supporter of Head Start. 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.
Congressman Scott understands that Congress must work together to ensure that our elementary and secondary schools are places where children 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 with 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 was one of the chief architects of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was signed into law by President Obama in 2015. ESSA is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and a replacement to the No Child Left Behind Act.
ESSA lives up to the promises of Brown v. Board of Education and the intent of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by building on past reauthorizations of the law. ESSA puts in place assessment, accountability, and improvement systems that will close achievement gaps with evidence-based strategies that meet the unique needs of students and schools. Additionally the law requires meaningful state and local action in every school where students – or any subgroup of students – aren’t learning. It requires that any action taken to support school improvement is driven by student outcomes – and that poverty can't be used as an excuse for not stepping up to better serve students, while also supporting teachers and school leaders with resources and professional development opportunities that will prepare today’s learners for tomorrow’s workforce. As Chairman on the Education and Labor Committee, Congressman Scott is conducting rigorous oversight on the Department of Education ensuring they are properly implementing the law.
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 focussed on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and is determined to put forth bold policy solutions to make higher education work for all, focusing on three main areas: access, affordability, and completion. Attending a higher education institution should be fully accessible regardless of a student’s race, socioeconomic status, disability, or family circumstance. With higher education still out of reach for too many Americans, Committee Democrats are working to lift the burden of student loan debt, and are focused on solutions that help all students complete their degree or credential on time. Congressman Scott was the lead sponsor of the Aim Higher Act, a bill which ensures every student has a path to a debt-free degree or credential that leads to a rewarding career.
In the wake of the tragic Newtown and Parkland mass shootings, 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.