Working Hard to Strengthen Our Educational System. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks believes that to maintain strong communities and America's global influence, then American must invest in its future by strengthening our public schools. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has been the major federal policy influencing public education since 2001. The Congressman is promoting the passage of a NCLB reauthorization bill that will increase students' access to quality educational instruction and facilities, improves the way that schools are held accountable through use of proper measuring methods, and to improve student performance in language arts, mathematics, and science.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Congressman Meeks has expanded the dialog amongst Congressional members on how to improve NCLB, so that America's students will attain the knowledge and skills to compete and succeed in an increasingly global labor market and to maintain America's economic competitiveness. Congressman Meeks' advocacy focuses on critical issues, such as: expanding programs that will increase the number of high skilled, college graduates entering into teaching careers; increasing the access and advancement of minority youth in science, math, and technology based subject matters and courses; and improving the retention and graduation rates of urban, minority youth.
Congressman Meeks has hosted and sponsored Congressional events that focus on improving NCLB through effective policy implementation and shared best practices between public school districts. Special event guests of the Congressman have included Education Secretary Margaret Spelling, representatives of NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, and nationally recognized Pre-K education advocates from New York.
He has been a strong supporter of maintaining and expanding early childhood programs, such as Head Start. To make sure that Queens students progress through high quality schools, he strongly supports legislation that reduces class size by hiring a 100,000 more teachers and helps local school districts finance school renovations and construction.
Congressman Meeks was instrumental in establishing NASA's Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) at York College, which fosters K-12 students' interests and advancement in related academic subjects through fun and interactive extracurricular projects. The Congressman has worked with the private sector to secure funding for SEMAA's growth, and he annually monitors the allocation of Federal appropriation funds to the Academy.
Our youth's ability to gain admittance to and to pay for college is essential to Queens' economic growth and community prosperity. Congressman Meeks has cosponsored legislation that will help parents and students easily access and complete financial aid forms. Also, the Congressman voted for higher education legislation that increased the Pell Grant allocation and support for student assistance programs.