“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 supporting a top-notch education systemfrom Pre-K to college and beyond." – Congressman Adam Schiff
In this section:
Rep. Adam Schiff believes that we must ensure adequate funding and make early education available to all, including childrenwhose parents simply cannot afford preschool or decent childcare. Not only does early education help to prepare kids for primary school, but it also ensures that our nation has the flexible and innovative minds needed for future economic growthand discovery.
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 by establishing a solid foundation for our children’s education. In May 2007, Schiff voted for, and the House passed, the Improving Head Start Act to reauthorize and improve this essential program.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Schiff has long been a supporter of funding for Head Start and Early Head Start, fighting to ensure theseprogramsbenefit as many students as possible.
Congress is currently working to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, more commonly known as “No Child Left Behind,” signed into law by President George W. Bush. There is widespread consensus on both sides of the aisle that No Child Left Behindis in need of reform and that our children can’t wait much longer. With NCLB not being reauthorized since its inception in 2001, these much needed reforms would represent a milestone in reshaping our education system.
Rep. 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 must 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.
Schiff believes that fully funding the programs that make up the backbone of our education system would go a long way in improving the success of our students.As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Schiff has supported funding for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Act and a host of other education programs that reflect his commitment to make sureevery child has a first class public education.
Members of our communities have all been deeply disturbed to see the effects of bullying play out in the nationaland local news through horrific tragedies. Our schools should be a safe haven for all students, and absolutely no student should ever feel afraid to go to school. In an effort to combat bullying in schools, Rep. Schiff has cosponsored two important pieces of legislation.
The first, the Safe Schools Improvement Act, would require school districts to have clear anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies with cleardiscipline procedures. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would also require the reporting of the number and nature of bullying incidents for each school annually to parents so they can be informed about the frequency of such episodes in their child’s school. The second, the Student Non-discrimination Act, would make it illegal for a school to discriminate against a student based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Combined, these two bills would go a long way towards ensuring that all students can feel safe when they go to school.
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 longtime supporter of Pell Grants, Schiff supported provisions in the Affordable Care Act raised the maximum award to itshighest level ever – $5,550. These and other grants allow students to continue their education as investments in our future. Schiff hascontinuouslyopposedattempts to lower the maximum award, and willcontinue to fight to make sure students who have the talent and the drive to attend an institution of higher education has the opportunity.
Fartoo 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.
The slow economic recovery is making it even more difficult for students to get jobs after graduating, making loans evenmore burdensome. Schiff understands that Congress should be alleviating this burden, not adding to it, and proudly voted to keep the student loan interest rates at 3.4% before they were scheduled to doubleto 6.8%.
Schiff also supports the efforts of the President to make it easier for students to access information about federal student aid, and to ensure that all graduating students are familiar with their options for repayingtheirloans upon graduation. He understands that education is an investment in our future and that in a competitive global economy, higher education costs should not be keeping anyone from pursuing a degree.
As we are all painfully aware, the recession has caused many states to cut education funding, which Schiff believes is tragically counterproductive. Keeping our educators in the classroom and investing in our children’s education is an investment that 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 the 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 work, but is detrimental for our students and families. In order to help students and teachers, Schiff voted for the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which included $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund and savedmore than 161,000 teachers’ jobs nationwide. California alone received $1.2 billion in emergency education funding that saved an estimated 16,500 teachers’ jobs. An estimated $13.7 million of the emergency education fundswent to the former 29th district, which is estimated to have saved 200 teaching positions. Moreover, this fully offset bill has beenprojected by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office to reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion over 10 years.
Education budget cuts have also meant that schools are unable to makethe repairs they desperately need. Our students get one shot at their education, and Schiff is determined to ensure all students are given the toolsthey need to succeed. The FAST Act, which Schiffcosponsors, would award grants to modernize and repair schools, bringing much-needed jobs to our community, while ensuring that our students have a safe and up-to-date learning environment. Schiff also cosponsored the Teacher Tax Relief Act, which would allow teachers a $500 deduction for classroom supplies and professional development to assist our educators who have been making up for budget decreases in their classrooms by using their own money to purchase supplies.