Biggert Introduces Homeless Education Bill
Washington, DC - U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13) today spoke on the House floor to promote H.R. 3205, the Homeless Education Improvement Act of 2007. The bill, which Biggert introduced with cosponsors Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ-7) and John P. Sarbanes (D-MD-3), will build upon the successful McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (EHCYP), which was enacted as part of NCLB.
"Homeless children and youth face unique barriers to education," said Biggert, who drafted the original EHCYP provisions in 2001. "When these barriers are not addressed, homeless children and youth are often unable to attend or even enroll in school."
In addition to reauthorizing EHCYP through 2015, H.R. 3205 would:
* Clarify existing language that allows homeless kids to stay in their school of origin;
* Address concerns regarding the cost of transportation;
* Improve the effectiveness of each school district's homeless liaison;
* Align pre-school program homeless procedures with recent changes made to Head Start;
* Ensure Title I funds are available to support the academic achievement of homeless students; and
* Increase the capacity of school districts to respond to homelessness by increasing the program's authorization level to $140 million.
"These improvements will enable schools to enroll additional homeless students and ensure that school districts enrolling homeless children and youth receive vital program dollars," said Biggert, a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee.
The bipartisan bill was developed in collaboration with several national advocacy organizations and has been endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, the National Network for Youth, the Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, and the National Policy & Advocacy Council on Homelessness.
"Being without a home should not mean being without an education," said Biggert. "As we proceed with the reauthorization of NCLB, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Education Committee to ensure that this bill is enacted and homeless children are given the opportunity to reach the same challenging academic standards as all students."
H.R. 3205 is the second bill Biggert has introduced during the 110th Congress designed to remove barriers that prevent homeless youth from attending school. In January, she introduced H.R. 601, the FAFSA Fix for Homeless Kids Act, which would ensure that unaccompanied homeless youth are not required to submit a parent's financial information to qualify for Federal student aid.