“Our educational system’s successes and failures will determine the future of our nation. As the proud parent of two children who have been educated in our public schools, I know firsthand the importance of quality education and safe, well-run schools. I am committed to supporting a top-notch education system from Pre-K to college and beyond.”
– Rep. Adam Schiff
Improving Access to College and Higher Education
Far too many students who choose to pursue higher education find themselves crippled by debt upon graduation. In fact, Americans owe an astounding $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, the second-highest form of consumer debt behind mortgage debt. Rep. Schiff recognizes that our country’s preeminence in an increasingly competitive worldwide economy relies on keeping the doors to higher education wide open to all students and enabling graduates to choose fields they are passionate about and take risks. This requires a concerted effort to bring down the costs of higher education and the debt that often goes with it.
As a longtime supporter of Pell Grants, Schiff voted in favor of raising the maximum award per student to its highest level ever – $5,730. Schiff has also continuously opposed attempts to lower the maximum award and will continue to fight to make sure students who have the talent and the drive to attend an institution of higher education have the opportunity to do so. Schiff is also a strong advocate for efforts to alleviate the loan burden on students so that every student – regardless of financial need – has a fair shot at an affordable education. Schiff also supports initiatives to streamline the ability of students to access information about federal student aid, and to ensure that all graduating students are familiar with their options for repaying their loans upon graduation.
Making Early Childhood Education A Reality For All
Rep. Schiff believes that we must ensure adequate funding and make early education available to all kids, including children whose parents simply cannot afford preschool or childcare. Not only does early education help prepare kids for primary school, it ensures that our nation has the flexible and innovative minds needed for future economic growth and discovery.
Since 1965, Head Start has helped more than 30 million low-income pre-school children establish a solid foundation for their future education with a wide range of early educational and health services. Schiff has long been a supporter for increased funding for Head Start and Early Head Start, fighting to ensure these programs benefit as many children as possible.
Schiff is also a cosponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act, which would address the current early learning and care crisis by ensuring that no family under 150 percent of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care. Families would pay their fair share for care on a sliding scale, regardless of the number of children they have. The bill would also support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all three and four year olds. Finally, the bill would significantly improve compensation and training for the child care workforce to ensure that our nation’s teachers and caregivers, as well as the children they are caring for, have the support they need to thrive.
Strengthening K-12 Education
Congress has been working to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, more commonly known as “No Child Left Behind,” which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. 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 in different environments. Schiff continues to support robust funding for programs created by 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 sure every child has a first class public education.
In an effort to combat bullying in schools, Schiff is a co-sponsor of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which would require school districts to have clear anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would also require the reporting of the number and nature of bullying incidents for each school annually so that parents can be better informed about the frequency of such episodes in their child’s school. Schiff is also a co-sponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit a school from discriminating against a student based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Combined, these two bills would go a long way towards ensuring that all students feel safe in our schools.
Schiff believes that all students deserve to learn and grow in a safe environment. Our students' success will determine our future, and it is up to us to ensure that every student has access to an environment that allows them to reach their full potential. Schiff is a proud cosponsor of the Mental Health in Schools Act, which would increase funding for, and expand the scope of the "Safe Schools-Healthy Students" program in order to provide access to more comprehensive school-based mental health services. It would also provide staff development for school and community service personnel, as well as training for children with mental health disorders, their parents, siblings, other family members, and concerned members of the community.
Sometimes our kids struggle in school because they cannot see the answer, or the problem, or even the board itself. Schiff introduced the See the Board Act, a bill to authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants available for entities that provide vision services for students in underserved communities to purchase portable or mobile optometry equipment, and to pay for operational costs, including direct health care or service delivery costs. Schiff believes we must make sure that all children have access to vision care, and get the eye exams and glasses they need.