"Our educational system's success or failure will determine the future of our nation. As the proud parent of two young children, I know firsthand the importance of quality education and safe, well-run schools. I am committed to supportinga top-rate education system--from Pre-K to college and beyond." -- Congressman Adam Schiff
Congressman Schiff believes that we must ensure adequate funding and make early education available to all, including those children whose parents cannot afford preschool or decent childcare. Not only does early education help to prepare kids for school, but it also ensures that our nation has the flexible and innovative minds needed for future economic growth.
Since 1965, Head Start has helped more than 18 million low-income pre-school children with a wide range of important early educational and health services. Head Start establishes a solid foundation for our children's education. In May 2007, Schiff voted for, and the House passed, the Improving Head Start Actto reauthorize and improve Head Start. He continues to be a strong advocate for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
Congress is currently working to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). There is widespread consensus on both sides of the aisle that this act is in need of reform and that our kids can't wait any longer. NCLB has not been reauthorized since it was created in 2001, and new reforms would represent a milestone in reforming our education system. The House Education and the Workforce Committee has held several hearings on the reauthorization of NCLB already, and Schiff is hopeful that the Committee will introduce a bill to reauthorize and reform NCLB this year.
Schiff believes that any reform of NCLB needs to take into account the views of those most affected by the law--students, parents, teachers and administrators--if it is going to truly improve education in our country. Accountability should include a variety of measures of performance, while also leaving room for teachers, parents and school administrators--people who know students best--to exercise their judgment on how to teach their students.
President Obama has made it a priority to have the highest proportion of students graduating from higher education in the world by 2020, and Schiff has been working in Congress to support that goal. As the costs of attending institutions of higher education continue to rise, Schiff believes we must ensure that every student who wishes to attend an institution of higher education, and has the grades to do so, should not be precluded by financial need.
As a long time supporter of Pell Grants, Schiff is proud that the Affordable Care Act raised the maximum award for Pell Grants to its highest level ever, $5,550. These and other grants allow students to continue their education as investments in our future, which is why Schiff has been fighting against attempts to lower the maximum award, and why he will continue to fight to make sure every student who has the talent and the drive to attend an institution of higher education has that opportunity.
Too many students that pursue higher education are crippled by debt upon graduation. Schiff supported legislation, which restructured student lending in order to give more students the opportunity to pursue higher education without the fear of overwhelming debt. The bill will save nearly $61 billion over 10 years by converting all new federal student lending to the Direct Loan program. Unlike the lender-based program, the Direct Loan program is protected from market fluctuations, ensuring low-cost student loans no matter the global economic situation.
As we are all painfully aware, the recession has caused many states to cut education funding, which Schiff believes is tragically counterproductive. As a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, he is committed to reducing our national debt and performing serious oversight of our spending. However, keeping our educators in the classroom and investing in our children's education will pay off tenfold in the future. As California continues to debate how to balance the budget and fund education, Schiff will be working hard at the federal level to ensure we continue to invest in our children's education and our future.
As a result of our economic crisis, school districts across California have sent out thousands of pink slips and increased class sizes, which not only put thousands of teachers out of a job, but is detrimental for our students and families. That is why Schiff voted for the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which included $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund and that saved more than 161,000 teachers' jobs. California alone received $1.2 billion in emergency education funding that saved an estimated 16,500 teachers' jobs. An estimated $13.7 million went to the 29th district, which saved around 200 K-12 teaching jobs. This bill was fully offset and is projected by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office to actually reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years.