Congressman Lynch argues that education is the foundation of opportunity in this country. A strong public education system and access to higher education ensure that children from across America will have the knowledge and training they need to succeed in the ever-competitive and global economy. However, our schools, students, and teachers simply do not have the resources they need to be successful.
Since it was signed into law in 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act has been under-funded each and every year, by a total of $56.8 billion. The cuts have been deepest for after-school programs, teacher training, educational technology, and Title I assistance for disadvantaged children. This year is no different. Education funding in the Republicans' proposed fiscal year 2007 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill again falls short of the levels set forth by No Child Left Behind.
"Education is the great equalizer, and it is vital to the future success of our children," said Congressman Lynch. "We are doing a serious disservice to America's children by not living up to the promises made in the No Child Left Behind Act."
If the Republican education funding bill becomes law, students in Massachusetts will indeed be left far behind. For example, 31,419 children in Massachusetts will be denied the after-school programs promised by NCLB. Massachusetts will receive $15.5 million less than we were promised in educational technology grants and $8.5 million less for teacher training. Intensive reading and math instruction will be denied to 55,738 disadvantaged Massachusetts students.
For this reason, Congressman Lynch and fellow Democrats sent a letter to President Bush and Republican Leaders in the House calling on them to fully fund the promises of NCLB.
Additionally, Congressman Lynch believes that cost should never be the determination of whether a child goes to college or not. Every year, the challenge of paying for college becomes greater and greater for students and working families. With tuition on the rise, increasing by 40 percent between 2001 and 2005, the typical student leaves college today with $17,500 in federal loan debt. Instead of helping students and families attain the American dream of going to college, this Republican led Congress decided to cut $12 billion out of the federal student aid programs in order to help finance tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.
Congressman Lynch also opposes President Bush's proposal to eliminate programs that assist low-income, high risk and first generation college students like TRIO and GEAR UP. In 2006, more than 400,000 low-income students participated in these types of programs.
"The TRIO and GEAR UP programs simply give kids a chance to excel," explained Congressman Lynch. "It is mean-spirited and short-sighted for the president to try to cut these vital programs that help young people to succeed."