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 9, 2019 In The News
When the Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, declaring racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-3rd, was 7 years old. Sixty-five years later, much has changed for the longtime congressman, the chair of the House Education and Labor Committee.
June 18, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) issued the following statement after the release of a recent GAO Report, entitled “K-12 Education: Education Should Take Immediate Action to Address Inaccuracies in Federal Restraint and Seclusion Data.” “The GAO’s report makes clear that school districts across the country are not accurately reporting the use of restraint or seclusion — disciplinary practices that jeopardize student and staff health and safety. In fact, the research shows these disciplinary practices make classrooms less safe. The report’s findings are consistent with the testimony the Committee on Education and Labor heard earlier this year and raise serious concerns about the prevalence of these harmful discipline practices. The Education Department must immediately implement GAO’s recommendations to give the public and Congress an accurate understanding of the use of restraint and seclusion.
May 8, 2019 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I rise today, on behalf of Representatives DANNY DAVIS, GREGORY MEEKS, DAVID SCOTT, EMANUEL CLEAVER, AL GREEN, STEVEN HORSFORD and myself, to recognize and honor the life and legacy of Robert Harold Ogle--a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and a trailblazer in the United States Congress.
April 24, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, issued the following statement after Rodney Robinson was announced as the 2019 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Robinson is a social studies teacher at Virgie Binford Education Center inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. “I am proud to congratulate Richmond public school teacher Rodney Robinson, who was named 2019 National Teacher of the Year this morning. While Congress has a critical role in providing students, parents, and educators the resources they need to succeed, it is dedicated leaders like Mr. Robinson who are ultimately responsible for teaching and inspiring students every day in classrooms across the country.
February 26, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03), House Committee on Education and Labor, and Chairman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (NMI-AL), House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, along with 96 other cosponsors, introduced 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. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced a companion bill in the Senate with 35 cosponsors.
February 21, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (NC-05) announced plans to hold five bipartisan hearings on higher education, marking the formal start of an effort the reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the 116th Congress. The joint announcement reflects the Committee’s shared intention to host a thoughtful and open exchange of ideas for improving America’s higher education system.
February 6, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after President Trump delivered this State of the Union address before Congress. “President Trump’s State of the Union – like the first two years of his presidency – largely ignored the challenges facing students, workers, and communities across the country. Access to a quality education, a good-paying job, and affordable health care are fundamental issues for all Americans. Rather than offering credible solutions, the president continued to spread misinformation about immigration and advocate for an ineffective and inefficient wall.
January 30, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, led House and Senate Democrats in introducing a proposal to invest more than $100 billion in America’s public schools. The Rebuild America’s Schools Act would fund $70 billion in grants and $30 billion in bonds to help address critical physical and digital infrastructure needs in schools across the country. According to economic projections, the bill would also create more than 1.9 million good-paying jobs. The bill comes as students, teachers, and parents across the country are demanding more support for public education. In a recent poll, 84 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans said increasing K-12 funding is an “extremely important priority” for the 116th Congress.
January 10, 2019 Floor Statements
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I thank Chairman Bishop for his distinguished leadership, and I thank the gentleman for the opportunity to mention several of the issues relevant to the jurisdiction of the Education and Labor Committee. Madam Speaker, this legislation funds critical nutrition assistance programs that serve children and families. Nutrition programs are among the most important and cost-effective investments in the Federal budget.
December 21, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the Department of Education announced that it is rescinding the 2014 ED-DOJ Discipline Guidance. “The Department’s decision to rescind the 2014 discipline guidance will undermine access to a quality education for students of color and students with disabilities. The guidance was issued to help schools address the troubling and undeniable evidence that Black students, boys, and students with disabilities receive harsher punishments than their classmates for similar or lesser offenses, without jeopardizing students’ safety. Rescinding the guidance will stall, if not reverse our progress toward addressing these disparities.