The federal government can and should do more to invest in our students and schools as states struggle to provide adequate K-12 funding, as well as affordable higher education opportunities. Quality education creates sound building blocks for future generations, yet recent trends indicate that American students are falling behind their foreign counterparts in nearly all subjects.
DeFazio's Community College Scholarships
DeFazio understands the importance of higher education and he could not have attended college without the assistance of financial aid. This is why he established a scholarship fund for dislocated workers at five community colleges in southwest Oregon. Since he has consistently refused the pay raises that other Members of Congress keep passing for themselves, the scholarship fund lets him use that excess pay to benefit Oregonians. DeFazio has provided over $319,000 in after-tax salary to fund 197 individuals scholarships for local community college students in Oregon's 4th Congressional district.
Early Childhood Development
DeFazio has been a strong supporter of increasing federal funding levels and federal resources to Pre-K programs, such as Head Start. Early childhood education, nutrition, health care and family support services are critical for our nation's youth. Often times these programs are not just about schooling, they are about meeting the needs of young children and their families.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, commonly referred to as No Child Left Behind)
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act needs to be reauthorized, providing opportunities to track student progress in a meaningful way rather than continue the short-sided policies that do not provide schools the necessary flexibility to reach achievement goals. DeFazio strongly believes that Congress needs to fully fund ESEA. When the federal government imposes mandates on local schools, then the federal government should follow through on promised funding to fulfill those mandates.
In addition to his scholarships, Congressman DeFazio has been a consistent supporter of federal higher education programs such as Pell grants, federal work study, and student loan forgiveness, which helps make college more affordable.
As a recipient of financial aid, DeFazio understands the importance of financial aid in helping students achieve a higher education for those who want one. He was proud to support the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) which became law in 2010. The SAFRA comes at an opportune time as a record number of students need assistance for affordable, quality education opportunities. SAFRA eliminates taxpayer financed subsidies to banks making federal educational loans in favor of a more cost efficient model, the Direct Loan program. Direct loans to students provide more opportunities to future generations than do subsidies to banks. Eliminating bank subsidies will result in $61 billion in tax-payer savings over the next 10 years, which completely pays for the improved educational investments.