The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law promised increased resources in exchange for higher academic standards and new accountability measures. Unfortunately, the promised funding has not been delivered. Federal funding is also falling short in meeting the needs of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which mandates that school districts provide appropriate services to educate children with disabilities. While Congress may provide up to 40% of the cost of these services, it has historically appropriated far less than that amount. As a result, states and local school districts are forced to divert resources from general education to address the needs of disabled students.
Rep. Waxman believes we must strengthen the federal commitment to education, from early childhood to K-12 to higher education. He is committed to providing additional resources for NCLB and IDEA to ensure that our schools can meet the needs of all students and prepare them for college and success in the global economy. He also supports full funding of Head Start, one of our most effective federal programs, to ensure that all children start school ready to learn. In addition, he is a member of the Pell Grant Caucus and supports robust financial aid funding to expand access to higher education for middle- and low-income students.
As a member of the House Labor and Working Families Caucus, Representative Waxman believes that every employee has the right to fair wages and benefits in return for labor. Working people should have the ability to organize and bargain collectively to build better work environments and brighter futures for themselves and their families.
Representative Waxman is a cosponsor of several bills to support workers and their ability to organize:
* Public Law 111-2, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, enacted on January 29, 2009, will ensure that employees who do comparable work will be paid a comparable wage.
* H.R. 12, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which passed the House on January 9, 2009, would prohibition sex discrimination in the payment of wages.
* H.R. 1409, The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), would simplify the process by which workers can form unions. EFCA would also protect workers who engage in organizing activities from harassment and facilitate the negotiation of the first contract after the initial certification of a union.
* H.R. 2460, The Healthy Families Act, would require employers with at least fifteen employees to provide workers minimum paid sick leave.
* H.R. 413, the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2009, would give public safety officers employed by state or local government collective bargaining rights.
* H.R. 3042, the Forewarn Act, would requires an employer to give a 90-day written notice to employees and state and local governments before ordering a plant closing or mass layoff.
In addition, Rep Waxman was an original cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-28), which raised the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.