Funding for all education programs currently takes up less than 1% of the Federal Budget; it's not surprising that we are seeing a crisis in our public school system. Lagging test scores, growing class sizes, consistent cuts to arts, music and physical education are only a few of the symptoms of an education system in distress. With the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act looming, there is great opportunity to renew our commitment to America's children. Congressman Blumenauer supports addressing key problems in NCLB such as increasing federal investment to meet its promises, using growth models to track student progress, measuring students with disabilities differently, recognizing the challenges of English Language Learners, and others. Congressman Blumenauer does not support the shift toward private vouchers and heavy handed sanctions against already disadvantages schools.
A solid commitment to K-12 education also includes helping kids be prepared for school through early educational programs and providing support to at-risk students throughout their K-12 career. Additionally, we must give students healthy and safe places to learn by investing in the building and maintenance of school facilities.
Congressman Blumenauer has had an active voice in the Congress' effort to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), more recently known as No Child Left Behind. Representative Blumenauer met with OR Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo to learn about Oregon's successes and challenges under the NCLB rules, and advocated for those recommendations to both Chairman George Miller and education Secretary Margaret Spellings.
Congressman Blumenauer has also actively supported many Congressional initiatives to improve our schools and education system for the children that attend them and the country who depends upon its success. Some of those include the "America's Better Classroom's Act" which provides school districts a credit against interest on bonds issued to finance school construction, and the "Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act" which updates nutrition standards for foods sold outside of school meals such as vending machines and snack shacks. Sensible nutrition has shown to markedly improve children's performance in schools. Congressman Blumenauer is also strongly supporting diversification of K-12 curriculum by co-sponsoring bills such as the "No Child Left Inside Act", which federally funds environmental education and teacher training resulting in more globally competitive students. Lastly, Congressman Blumenauer is an active member in the newly formed "Green Schools Caucus" and has supported many legislative proposals to advance energy renovations, the use of nontoxic materials, day-lighting, and other greening initiatives for the health and betterment of both our students, teachers and administrators.