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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

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.
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.
December 18, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after the release of the Trump administration’s school safety commission report. “The Federal School Safety Commission Report is not a serious or good-faith effort to make schools safer for students and educators. The report’s recommendations ignore both the research consensus and the demands of students and parents for tougher gun laws. Instead, the report promotes a longstanding, conservative agenda to undermine policies that protect students’ civil rights.
December 6, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) statement on today’s announcement that the Education Corporation of America (ECA) will close all of its more than 75 campuses, affecting roughly 20,000 students. ECA is accredited by ACICS and makes up about half of ACICS accredited schools. ECA’s abrupt closure calls into question the Department’s recent decision to reinstate ACICS as a recognized accreditor. “We have repeatedly warned about the risks low-quality, for-profit education companies and irresponsible accreditors pose to students and taxpayers across the country. Today’s announcement is another painful reminder of those risks. Just as with ITT Technical Institute and Corinthian Colleges, Education Corporation of America’s (ECA) abrupt closing will leave thousands of students with non-transferrable credits, crippling debt, and few of the job opportunities they were promised.
November 16, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03) released the following statement in response to the Education Department’s proposed rule, released today, which revises standards for schools’ responsibility under the Title IX to respond to campus sexual assault and harassment. “The Title IX proposal released today would be a damaging setback for our efforts to prevent campus sexual harassment and assault. The bottom line is that by allowing schools to use this new process and evidentiary standard, this rule would make it harder for survivors of sexual misconduct to achieve justice. Institutions must secure due process for the accused, while achieving dignity and providing the support services survivors deserve.
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.