Issue Position: Education
Senator Wyden believes that every student deserves a good education that provides them with the knowledge, skills, and training necessary to succeed. Education represents a critical investment in America's future competitiveness in the global marketplace. Guided by these core beliefs, Senator Wyden has been a longtime advocate of strengthening America's education system.
Early education is crucial to ensuring that every student realizes his or her potential. This is why Senator Wyden is such a strong supporter of programs like Head Start. As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Wyden is working to dramatically increase funding for this vital program that helps fulfill the needs of low-income preschool children.
No Child Left Behind
Senator Wyden voted for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) with the understanding that the President would fully fund his flagship education initiative. Unfortunately, the Administration has decided to under-fund NCLB, and if enacted, the President's 2008 budget proposal would bring the cumulative total funding shortfall to $70 billion. In the 110th Congress, Senator Wyden is fighting to increase funding for NCLB and, as the reauthorization process gets underway, he will be paying careful attention to ensure that needed reforms are enacted. For instance, NCLB school assessments must be fairer and the law should allow states to adopt growth modeling assessment tools like the one proposed by Oregon. The law must also recognize the unique challenges faced by rural communities. Although standards and assessments are critical to ensuring that students succeed, they must be fair and supported by federal funding.
The Cost of Higher Education
Senator Wyden is concerned by the rapid rise in the cost of higher education. This trend is making it impossible for many Americans to attend college and is saddling those who do with more and more debt. As one of his first actions in the 110th Congress, Senator Wyden voted to raise the Pell Grant maximum to $4,310. More remains to be done, and Senator Wyden will continue to look for opportunities to make college more affordable for all Americans.
Working on Behalf of Title IX
Senator Wyden has been a leader in the Senate on Title IX and Women and Science, for many years, even holding hearings on the subject when he chaired the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Science. The Senator has also advocated for studies and other initiatives to ensure that Title IX is enforced, that level the playing field, and that guarantee that the best and the brightest -- regardless of gender -- receive the educational and research opportunities that they deserve.
In July 2004, Senator Wyden sent President Bush a petition signed by 100 scientists urging the President to require the agencies to enforce Title IX and in February 2005, Senator Wyden met with Secretary of Education Spellings to ask her to work with him to get Title IX implemented by the Department of Education, as required by law.
Senator Wyden appreciated President Obama's comments about title IX on the campaign trail and looks forward to working with him to ensure that, in his words, "women have equal opportunities and access from pre-kindergarten through graduate school."