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Public Statements

Issue Position: Fighting for Public Education

Issue Position

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Education represents the key to America's success in the 21st Century. In today's economy, knowledge, skills, and analytical thinking are central to economic vitality. If our children are going to be given a chance to succeed, it is essential that we provide every child with a first rate education.

Throughout her public service career as a Congresswoman, a member of the University Board of Regents, and State Assemblywoman, Shelley Berkley has been a tireless advocate of investing in public schools while reforming and modernizing the system. Shelley herself attended Valley High School in Las Vegas, and earned her BA at UNLV, and both the Congresswoman's sons attended Las Vegas-area public schools.

As a legislator and the mother of two, Shelley Berkley strongly believes that if the United States is going to maintain the most dynamic workforce and the most vibrant business community in the world, it has to start with education. That means building the schools we need and providing teachers and administrators the resources they need to do their job.

The Clark County School District is the sixth largest school district in the country, and is still the fastest growing in the school-aged population. The Valley's rapid growth rate means that the school district builds a school a month just to keep up with the population, and has to hire hundreds of new teachers every year. In order to meet these challenges, Congresswoman Berkley has worked with her colleagues in Washington on legislation to benefit Clark County's schools. Berkley's record on education highlights the need to increase funding for school construction and modernization, provide the necessary resources for teacher training and retraining, allow adequate flexibility for educators to do their jobs, while fighting for programs to counter Clark County's high dropout rate.

Congresswoman Berkley is leading the fight to increase funding in the "No Child Left Behind Act" for programs aimed at keeping kids in school by expanding after-school programs in high risk districts, such as Clark County. She has also teamed up with local school officials to bring nearly $2 million back to Las Vegas schools to help establish highly successful after-school and weekend programs.

In order to meet Clark County's educational needs, Congresswoman Berkley has worked hard to:

+ Provide the resources to construct and renovate our schools. Congresswoman Berkley cosponsored the "America's Better Classroom Act," which would increase federal funding for the construction and renovation of public schools.

+ Hire and train more teachers. Congresswoman Berkley cosponsored the "Class Size Reduction Act" which would establish a grants program to help states and local educational agencies to recruit, train, and hire 100,000 additional teachers and reduce class sizes in grades one through three, to an average of 18 students per teacher.

+ Provide full funding for the "No Child Left Behind Act." Congresswoman Berkley voted to fully fund the "No Child Left Behind Act" that would increase funding for teacher training, after school and dropout prevention programs and classroom technology. Congress must fully fund provisions enacted by the legislation.

+ Invest in early education. In Nevada, only 1 in 4 children who are eligible for Head Start services are enrolled in programs due to lack of funding. Congresswoman Berkley sponsored legislation that would provide additional funding to high population growth states, like Nevada, to provide children with Head Start services.

+ Eliminate financial barriers to a college education. Congresswoman Berkley voted for legislation to provide a 15% increase in federal student financial aid, and voted to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,000.


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