Murphy has worked to make college more affordable. Murphy supported legislation that will cut the interest rate on federal student loans by 50% and increase the maximum Pell Grant available to college students by at least $500, representing the largest single investment in college affordability since the 1944 GI Bill. 6.8 million students who take out need-based federal loans would see immediate reductions of their interest rates over the next five years. The average student will see a savings of $4,400 over the course of their loan repayment. Murphy has also backed legislation that would increase annual loan limits on federal college loans and give the Education Department a larger role in ensuring loan availability (HR 2669, Roll Call 864, H.R. 5715, Roll Call 204).
* Murphy has pushed for Congress to reform the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Murphy believes that NCLB needs to provide more assistance to schools to better fulfill the law's mandates. NCLB's limited flexibility and narrow assessment standards have made it difficult for many Connecticut schools to produce satisfactory Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) scores. Additionally, Murphy believes NCLB needs to be modified to better reflect the needs of disabled students who don't fit within NCLB's grade-based testing system.
* Murphy has supported new investments in science, math, and technology education. In order to compete in the global marketplace and remain an engine for innovation and advancement, we need to invest in future generations of educators and students. That's why Murphy has supported funding for a National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative to train thousands of new math, science, and engineering teachers. Murphy also supports expanding grant availability through NSF and the Department of Energy (DOE) to support promising researchers in the early stages of their careers (H.R. 2272, Roll Call 802, HR 362, Roll Call 257).
* Murphy is committed to safe, secure public schools. Murphy approved legislation which would authorize $6.4 billion to repair and modernize public schools, along with additional funds for repairs to public schools damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. New funds could be used for repairs such as eradicating asbestos and lead-based paint, replacing electric wiring and plumbing, and purchasing technology, and require all repairs to be carried out according to "green" building standards. Murphy also helped reauthorize legislation which will help provide additional financing and assistance to rural schools with insufficient property tax bases, including some 4,400 schools in 42 states (H.R. 3021, Roll Call 379, H.R. 3058, Roll Call 387).
* Murphy is committed to strengthening the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Murphy supports providing states with a mandatory funding stream to help schools meet the excess costs of educating children with disabilities. Murphy also backs legislation to help families cover the cost of expert evaluations and tests when bringing legal action to ensure their children are provided with fair access to appropriate educational services.
* Murphy has championed early education programs. Murphy helped reauthorize the landmark Head Start program, the nation's premiere early childhood education program that currently enrolls 900,000 students, including approximately 7,000 in Connecticut. Murphy passed measures to help train teachers better and promote professional development to ensure a qualified pool of educators. In addition, this legislation prioritize the expansion of Early Head Start, which serves children during the critical development stage from birth to age three (HR 1429, Roll Call 1090).
* Murphy has been a leader on reforming our juvenile justice system. Building upon his record at the state level, where he was the lead sponsor of legislation signed into law to move 16 and 17-year-olds out of the adult prison system and into more appropriate rehabilitative incarceration, Murphy introduced legislation to reform federal juvenile justice policy to mirror many of the recent successes in Connecticut. His legislation aims to begin to remove youth from adult jails and support states in their efforts to keep kids out of adult prisons, and to improve safety of juveniles in custody.