Issue Position: Education
Sen. Nelson believes one of the most important investments we can make in our future is in our schools. Nelson was educated in public schools in Melbourne, Florida, where he learned to appreciate a quality, public education. In the Senate, Nelson supported several education initiatives calling for increased accountability and additional investment in public schools, recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers, as well as fully funding special education. Sen. Nelson wants to make sure that all children - regardless of their background - are in schools that closely monitor their progress in order to ensure their success.
No Child Left Behind
Senator Nelson believes that we must increase school accountability and create a school system in which all students can reach their potential regardless of their financial circumstances. He backed the No Child Left Behind Act believing that this legislation would be a step towards reaching these goals. In reality, the law was never fully funded, leaving states and local school districts without the necessary resources to meet new standards. By fully funding the Act and giving teachers and administrator additional flexibility, Nelson believes that this legislation can benefit students' performance.
Affordable Higher Education
Senator Nelson is committed to making it easier for American students to afford a college education. He supports loan and grant programs which help students pay for today's rising college costs, including the Perkins loan program. A student's financial situation should not determine his or her ability to pursue higher education.
Internet Access in Our Schools
Access to the Internet brings many educational benefits to our schools and can help students prepare for the professional world. Senator Nelson supports the E-rate program, which makes sure that schools can afford access to the Internet. In addition, he was pivotal in getting $4.8 million in federal funds for school and library Internet connections.
Physical Education in Schools
As the prevalence of obesity grows, it is increasingly important to educate our children on physical fitness from an early age. Unfortunately, administrators are cutting physical education programs across the country as they face difficult budgetary problems. Senator Nelson has offered legislation to make it financially easier for elementary, middle, and secondary schools to continue physical education classes by giving schools matching funds to maintain their programs. Under this bill, states also are required to report their number of physical education programs to the U.S. Department of Education yearly.
Curbing High School Steroid Use
As steroid use by high school students becomes more common, Senator Nelson introduced legislation designed to discourage these young athletes from turning to performance enhancing drugs. The bill will offer federally-funded grants to encourage states to create testing programs.