Education is not only the right of every child; it is the cornerstone of America's economic future. It's a simple truth that nations who out-educate us now will also out-compete us in the future. Now more than ever, we must make a unified national commitment to education by investing in our public K-12 schools.
I am proud to be working with a President who shares this firm commitment. In fact, within a month of his inauguration, President Obama demonstrated his commitment to education for the 21st century when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. This law created a $53.6 billon state stabilization fund to help states prevent cutbacks and layoffs in our public education system, and created jobs by modernizing schools and colleges and universities. It also provided a $500 increase for each Pell Grant scholarship recipient, and a new $2,500 tuition tax credit, benefitting eleven million students.
In addition, Florida was awarded $700 million through the President's Race to the Top fund. These investments in students will go toward the development of a state system that will accelerate the academic progress of our students, provide assistance to our low performing schools, and properly recognize and reward our hardest working teachers.
As you may know, Congress has been discussing the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, the nation's primary legislation concerning the education of children in public K-12 schools. As currently written, it is over burdensome, outdated, and insufficient for providing our children with the 21st century education they deserve. My own kids are in South Florida public schools and I have seen some of the problems with this law up-close. I urge Congress to diligently reauthorize this bill with meaningful reforms, and please be assured that I will continue to join the President in calling for higher standards, better assessments, and equity for all students, along with rewarding excellence, and supporting our teachers.
I am committed to working with my colleagues in the House and with the President to provide a high quality education to all of America's students, creating a nation prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.