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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

September 5, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, released the following statement after Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that President Trump is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “I am deeply disappointed President Trump is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In 2012, we asked undocumented immigrants who were brought here at a young age, through no fault of their own, to step out of the shadows and undergo robust background checks in exchange for work authorization and temporary relief from deportation. We promised them an opportunity to legally contribute to their communities.
August 21, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), ranking member of the House Committee on Judiciary, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos about a recent memo that showed intent of the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (ED) to reexamine the process by which the federal government ensures racial diversity on college campuses.
August 17, 2017 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, issued the following statement on President Trump’s signing of H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the “Forever” G.I. Bill, into law yesterday. The legislation makes improvements to the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, which was originally sponsored by former Senator Jim Webb and Congressman Scott and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008. The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill provides our men and women in uniform the full cost of a four year public college or university and housing benefits while enrolled in school. Congressman Scott was an original cosponsor of the “Forever” G.I. Bill.
August 8, 2017 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) will hold a legislative update town hall in Norfolk, Virginia on Monday, August 14, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. The town hall will provide an update on pending issues including the federal budget, health care, and legislation already enacted by Congress and the impact of these policies on Virginians and their families. This will be an opportunity for residents of the 3rd congressional district to provide comments and ask questions.
August 2, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), the ranking members of the House Committees on Education and the Workforce and the Judiciary, respectively, issued the following statement after reports surfaced that the Department of Justice plans to attack and undermine affirmative action programs in colleges and universities. “While we cannot comment on the veracity of this alleged memo, we are deeply concerned by news reports that the Department of Justice intends to challenge the application of affirmative action programs in colleges and universities. What is already clear is the Trump Administration’s public record of attacking civil rights protections on multiple fronts. As ranking members, we led 86 Members of the House in an amicus brief in support of affirmative action programs in higher education.
July 25, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition of H.J. Res. 111, which will overturn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rule, prohibiting forced arbitration for many consumer contracts, including student loan contracts. Banks and large corporations often take advantage of ordinary Americans by burying forced arbitration clauses and boiler plate fine print in standard contracts. When corporations force consumers to secretly arbitrate with handpicked firms, which rely on those same corporations for repeat business, the system is rigged. Take, for example, Matthew, who enrolled in a for-profit aviation school that closed before Matthew could finish his degree. At the recommendation of the school, he had taken out $56,000 in private student loans.
June 27, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis) for proposing this amendment. The Rebuild America's Schools Act would help ensure that each of our Nation's 50 million public school students, taught by 3 million teachers, will have access to safe, healthy, and high-quality learning facilities and internet access sufficient for digital learning in the classroom. This bold proposal would create nearly 2 million jobs, improve student learning, and revitalize under-resourced communities. The Rebuild America's Schools Act is a win for students, families, workers, and the economy; and any responsible infrastructure proposal put forth by Congress should include a bold investment in our Nation's public schools.
June 22, 2017 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which will reauthorize the Perkins Career and Technical Education program. H.R. 2353 builds on the House's bipartisan efforts in the last Congress, when this Chamber passed CTE reauthorization by a vote of 405-5. The research is clear: The United States workforce is suffering a skills gap. According to Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the United States will require at least some postsecondary education or skills acquisition. Yet, if the current trend holds, by 2020, our Nation will have more than 5 million fewer skilled workers than necessary to fill the high-skilled jobs which will be available. In Virginia alone, that is 30,000 open jobs; 17,000 are in the area of cybersecurity, and those jobs have salaries starting at $88,000.
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.