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.


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. 

Education Sec. Duncan and Rep. Scott read to students.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. 


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.

More on Education

May 21, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, in a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, House and Senate education leaders called on the Education Department to rescind its “equitable service” guidance, which would redirect COVID-19 relief funding away from students in public schools to fund services for students in private schools, regardless of their wealth or residence.
May 20, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, in a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) called on the Department to take proactive steps to help more than 14 million displaced college students maintain access to health care coverage. In the letter, the Members note that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students who rely on health insurance plans sponsored by their colleges or universities may face a break in coverage as these institutions remain closed.
May 20, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to Department of Education Secretary DeVos, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) demanded an explanation for the Department illegally garnishing the wages on student loan borrowers amid the COVID-19—a direct violation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27. In the letter, Chairman Scott notes that as recently as May 6, employers indicated that they could not stop garnishing wages because they had not received a letter from the Department directing them to do so.
May 15, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House passed a fifth legislative relief package—the Heroes Act—in response to the COVID-19 crisis. “By passing the Heroes Act today, the House of Representatives took an important step toward confronting the full scale of this pandemic. The Heroes Act dedicates nearly $1 trillion in emergency relief to help states and local government avert devastating cuts, particularly to education, public safety, and basic services.
May 15, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement ahead of the 66th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. “This year’s anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education comes at a pivotal and perilous moment in the fight for educational equity. Last month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that students have a constitutional right to a basic education. But the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the unequal distribution of resources and opportunity that ­­prevents many low-income and Black students from getting the education they deserve.
May 15, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) called on the Education Department to abandon its plan to divert emergency education funding, which was intended to provide COVID-19 relief for public schools, toward private school vouchers. The letter comes after the Department announced its intention to use a vast majority of the $300 million it received for discretionary grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to create a program that mirrors the Department’s longstanding, widely rejected proposal to create a federal school voucher program.
May 13, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott issued the following statement after House Democrats introduced a fifth legislative package—the Heroes Act—in response to the COVID-19 crisis. “As result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our students and schools are facing unprecedented educational and financial challenges, our workers are experiencing unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression, and our public health care system is straining to meet the demand for testing and treatment of this deadly disease.
May 12, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democrats today introduced The Heroes Act, a bold and comprehensive coronavirus response bill that will meet the challenge this pandemic poses to our nation. The more than $3 trillion legislation protects the lives and livelihoods of the American people.
May 11, 2020 Press Release
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently approved Virginia’s plan to begin implementing the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, which provides emergency food assistance to students in low-income families in the event of prolonged school closures. The P-EBT program was created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which was the second COVID-19 emergency legislative package enacted by Congress on March 18, 2020.
May 8, 2020 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11) introduced the End Pandemic Hunger for College Students Act to ensure low-income college students can access Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits during school closures due to COVID-19. The bill comes as widespread campus closures are exacerbating the financial challenges facing students across the country.