Ensuring that all children, regardless of cultural or socioeconomic background, have access to the quality education they need to succeed in the 21st century remains one of my highest priorities. In light of the current budget constraints on local governments and soaring federal budget deficits, I am working hard to maintain the federal government's commitment to America's schools and to all of our children.
When I was a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I worked hard to implement the vital education reforms included in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, which refocused federal education policy on raising academic achievement for every child, provided public schools with more funding and flexibility, targeted those new dollars to districts with the greatest needs, and demanded accountability for results.
Unfortunately, over the past several years, the Administration and Republican leaders in Congress have seriously underfunded NCLB and other important education programs, forcing our nation's public schools to cut critical programs that educate our most needy children. In 2006, NCLB received almost $12 billion less than what was authorized. We can do better than this for our public schools. As the House prepares to consider the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, I will work hard to ensure that it is fully funded, so that we may provide the best educational opportunities to all of America's children.
The effects of poor fiscal management are felt at all education levels, not just K-12. College students, too, have faced rising costs and cuts in aid. That is why I supported the College Cost and Reduction Act, H.R. 2669. This bill cuts interest rates on student loans, reducing the debt our students face upon graduation and renewing our dedication to affordable post-secondary education. On September 27, 2007, H.R. 2669 was signed into law.
This law is an important step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done. As the father of two boys, I believe we must remain committed to our children, our schools, and our future. I will continue to push Congress to maintain that commitment to the education of every American child.