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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

November 14, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act to protect students from the dangers of seclusion and restraint at school. The legislation would make it illegal for any school receiving taxpayer dollars to seclude children.
October 17, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, along with Representatives Susan Davis (CA-53) and John Sarbanes (MD-03), and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), led more than 150 Democrats requesting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos turn over more information—and swiftly act to fix— regarding the Department’s flawed handling of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This request follows the release of a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which revealed an alarming number of PSLF borrowers have been denied loan forgiveness.
October 16, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after a federal court judge ruled the Department of Education illegally delayed the “Borrower Defense” (BD) rule. The rule was established under President Obama in the wake of two massive for-profit college closures to provide relief to defrauded students. “Today’s court ruling is a major victory for students. In September, the Court found the Department illegally delayed the Borrower’s Defense regulations, delaying relief for students who were cheated out of their education, their money, and their future.
September 27, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement following passage of the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act of 2019. “This funding package is a bipartisan rejection of President Trump’s proposed cuts to education, workplace safety and training, and programs that expand access to affordable health care for families across the country.
September 20, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), the top Democrat on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, sent a second letter to Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC-05) requesting hearings before the full Committee to examine the troubling state of education in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The U.S. Virgin Islands Board of Education reported a drop of nearly 4,000 students enrolled in schools in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, while Puerto Rico’s Department of Education closed 265 schools last summer.
August 30, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement in response to a report from the New York Times that revealed Secretary DeVos’s draft proposal to rewrite policies for addressing sexual misconduct on campus. “The draft regulation regarding sexual harassment and misconduct that is reportedly under consideration by Secretary DeVos would be a major step backward in our collective effort to provide a safe learning environment for all students. The proposed rule creates a new process and evidentiary standard that makes it harder for survivors of harassment, abuse, and assault to achieve the justice they deserve.
August 27, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after Seth Frotman, Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced his resignation in a letter to Acting Director Mick Mulvaney. In the letter, Frotman says the Bureau has abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting. “Seth Frotman’s resignation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is further evidence that the Bureau’s current leadership is failing to do its job on behalf of America’s 44 million student loan borrowers. Mr. Frotman’s assessment that the Bureau has lost its independence and is now a political arm of the administration should be taken seriously. It not only reflects his personal experience, but it is also supported by the series of recent actions taken by the Bureau to weaken protections for students and their families.
August 10, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to eliminate the Gainful Employment rule, which was established by the Obama administration to set a clear enforcement standard for career programs and for-profit institutions that have a demonstrated history of leaving students with debt they cannot repay. “The Trump administration’s decision to eliminate – rather than revise or replace – the Gainful Employment rule is yet another example of its willingness to prop up low-quality for-profit colleges at the expense of students and taxpayers. According to the Education Department’s own analysis, this decision will cost taxpayers nearly $5 billion in federal financial aid, which will go to college programs that have failed to meet the existing standards and would have otherwise closed.
July 30, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Department of Education announced plans to form a negotiated rulemaking committee to rewrite rules regarding accountability in higher education. “The regulatory agenda announced today by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is an ominous sign for students and taxpayers. The current rules governing oversight and accountability in higher education reflect the responsibility and intent of Congress to create a system in which student and taxpayer dollars are spent on quality programs that prepare students for success. By initiating a process to weaken or eliminate those rules, Secretary DeVos is attempting to rewrite the Higher Education Act (HEA) in a way that undermines the quality of our higher education system and increases the opportunities for predatory institutions to profit by exploiting student financial aid.
July 26, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC ─ Today, Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), released a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Action Needed To Improve Participation in Education's HBCU Capital Financing Program. The members requested this report to review the capital finance needs of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).