Education

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. 

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.  

PRIMARY/SECONDARY EDUCATION

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. 

SCHOOL SAFETY

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

July 13, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Education Department announced temporary changes to the federal student aid verification process for the 2021–22 award year. The temporary changes will provide relief to hundreds of thousands of students and thousands of colleges who may be facing challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Education Department’s decision to streamline the financial aid verification process is an important and sensible step to help students stay in school and complete their degrees.
June 30, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Education Department’s Office of Inspector General confirmed that the former Under Secretary of Education exceeded her authority and wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to provide a handout to executives and owners at Dream Center Education Holdings. “This independent watchdog report provides clear evidence that the Trump administration’s Education Department took unprecedented and improper steps to support a failing for-profit college chain and that its actions cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
June 30, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, urged President Biden to extend the pause on federal student loan payments, which is currently set to expire at the end of September. In a letter to President Biden, the members stressed that the pause on student loan payments has been a lifeline for struggling borrowers during the health and economic crises and that borrowers need more time and support in order to navigate resuming repayments.
June 28, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, helped secure $1.5 million for the Hampton Roads Community Action Program’s Head Start program, which provides early childhood education and comprehensive support to at-risk children and families. The funding was provided as part of the American Rescue Plan. The Hampton Roads Community Action Program will use these resources primarily to ramp up family support, recruitment and enrollment efforts, mental health support for children and families, and staff wellness.
June 16, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed S. 475 the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act: “I was very proud to vote today to finally establish Juneteenth as a national holiday and I was pleased to see broad bipartisan support for the legislation. I look forward to President Biden signing it in to law. This vote comes after the Commonwealth of Virginia formally recognized Juneteenth as a holiday last year and now a total of 49 states and Washington, D.C. now celebrate Juneteenth as a state or ceremonial holiday.
June 16, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Education Department announced new categories of borrower defense claims totaling $500 million in relief to 18,000 borrowers. “Today’s announcement means that tens of thousands of defrauded student loan borrowers will finally be granted the debt relief that they are legally entitled to receive. It has been more than four years since the Department of Education (ED) first concluded that ITT Tech schools in California defrauded their students.
June 16, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement in response to the Education Department’s Notice of Interpretation that will prohibit schools receiving federal funds from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. “I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for taking this important step to strengthen protections against discrimination in schools. This announcement reflects our shared commitment to providing all students a safe and welcoming environment, and it aligns the Education Department’s interpretation of civil rights law with the definition established by the Supreme Court last year.
June 13, 2021 In The News
As Congress gears up to battle over how much to spend on infrastructure, Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-Newport News, wants to be sure his Capitol Hill colleagues remember one part of the foundation that keeps an economy growing: Child care. “If we’re going to get all these jobs, people need the things that make it possible to work, and that’s child care,” he told staff at the Downtown Hampton Child Development Center. The pandemic hit child-care facilities hard, he said. Those that remained open faced big bills to arrange for social distancing and hygiene measures — and had to spend that money as parents, stuck at home, decided to keep their children home too. Many simply closed their doors, and face bills to prepare for reopening.
June 11, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Biden-Harris Administration withdrew a Trump-era proposal that would have terminated automatic eligibility for free school meals for roughly 1 million students. “When the Trump Administration first proposed denying 1 million children automatic eligibility for free school meals, I raised awareness of the severe impact of this rule and called on the Administration to abandon its counterproductive proposal. Two years later, the Biden-Harris Administration’s decision to withdraw this rule is a major victory for students, families, and educators that demonstrates our shared commitment to preventing child hunger.
May 28, 2021 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement in response to the release of President Biden’s FY 2022 budget proposal. “The Biden-Harris FY 2022 budget is a blueprint for expanding opportunity and strengthening our economy. It proposes smart, significant investments in education, child care, health care, workforce training, and other key priorities that would improve the lives of Americans across the country.