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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

By Mr. REED:

S. 3582. A bill to improve quality and accountability for educator preparation programs; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Mr. REED. Mr. President, we know that public education lays the foundation for economic growth and the ongoing vitality of our democracy.

We also know that there is more work to be done to improve our schools. To achieve this goal, we need to focus on the professionals who have the greatest impact on student learning at school--teachers and principals.

Last year, I introduced the Effective Teaching and Leading Act to support teachers, librarians, and principals currently on the job through a comprehensive system of induction, professional development, and evaluation.

Today, I am pleased to be introducing the Educator Preparation Reform Act with Representative Honda to improve how we prepare teachers, principals, and other educators so that they can be effective right from the start.

Our legislation builds on the success of the Teacher Quality Partnership Program, which I helped author. We have added a specific focus on principals with the addition of a residency program for new principals.

Improving instruction is a team effort, with principals at the helm. This bill better connects teacher preparation with principal preparation. The Educator Preparation Reform Act will also allow partnerships to develop preparation programs for other areas of instructional need, such as for school librarians, counselors, or other academic support professionals.

The bill revamps the accountability and reporting requirements for teacher preparation programs to provide greater transparency on key quality measures such as admissions standards, requirements for clinical practice, placement of graduates, retention in the field of teaching, and teacher performance, including student learning outcomes.

All programs, whether traditional or alternative routes to certification, will report on the same measures.

Under this legislation, states will be required to identify at-risk and low performing programs and provide them with technical assistance and a timeline for improvement. Programs that are at-risk or low performing will be restricted in their ability to offer TEACH grants. States would be encouraged to close programs that do not improve.

The Educator Preparation Reform Act refocuses the state set-aside for higher education in Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on activities to support the development and implementation of performance assessments to measure new teachers' readiness for the classroom and for technical assistance for struggling teacher preparation programs.

We have been fortunate to work with many stakeholders in developing the key provisions of this legislation. Organizations that have endorsed the Educator Preparation Reform Act include: the Alliance for Excellent Education, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Council on Education, American Psychological Association, Association of American Universities, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, First Focus Campaign for Children, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teachers Association, National School Boards Association Opportunity to Learn Action Fund, Public Education Network, Rural School and Community Trust, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, The Higher Education Task Force, National Association of Elementary School Principals, and National Association of Secondary School Principals.

I look forward to working with these organizations, my colleagues, and others as I seek to include this legislation during the effort next Congress to reauthorize both the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act. I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.


By Mr. REED:

S. 3589. A bill to require the Comptroller of the Currency to establish a pilot program to facilitate communication between borrowers and servicers; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Mr. REED. Mr. President, today I am introducing the Mortgage Modification Outreach Act.

Despite some promising indicators in the housing market, many homeowners continue to face the threat of foreclosure. In my home state of Rhode Island, 22.6 percent of mortgages are underwater and 7.65 percent of homeowners are either in the foreclosure process or at least 90 days delinquent on their payment, a level which is higher than the national average.

I have heard from many of my constituents about the difficulties they experience when applying for loan modifications, and so the bill I am introducing focuses on providing homeowners with a face and a place where they can get more help.

First, the bill establishes a pilot program that would allow homeowners to receive information on how to reach their single point of contact by simply visiting a consumer banking branch affiliated with their mortgage servicer. Second, at the same affiliated bank branch, the homeowner can receive the address of a nearby location at which the homeowner can, at no cost in some cases, copy, fax, scan, or send all the paperwork that is required during the loan modification process. Simply put, my bill would enable a borrower to walk into the local bank branch affiliated with their mortgage servicer and get some face to face help.

This pilot program is designed to bridge the gap that has arisen as struggling homeowners have sought--unsuccessfully in too many instances--to get easy answers to basic questions from their mortgage servicer as they navigate the loan modification process. Homeowners looking for assistance should neither have to jump through countless hoops nor be given the runaround. They should be treated like customers.

There is no single solution that will help us gain traction in the housing market. However, along with my other efforts, such as S. 489, the Preserving Homes and Communities Act, S. 2162, the Project Rebuild Act, and my efforts to convert vacant foreclosed homes into rental properties, this legislation represents another commonsense approach to helping homeowners stay in their homes, reducing foreclosures, and healing the housing market.

This bill is supported by the National Consumer Law Center and the National Association of Realtors. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation.


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