It is critical that we set realistic goals to hold schools accountable for providing the education students deserve while taking into consideration the unique challenges that must be overcome in the classroom. Our education system must support and revitalize our public schools instead of labeling them as failing when they are not.
I am pleased that in December 2015, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that replaces the flawed policies of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I voted for S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) because reauthorizing the ESEA was the most important action Congress could take to fix the flawed NCLB law.
NCLB placed unreasonable standards on students, teachers, and administrators, and led to award-winning schools being labeled as failing. The consequences of NCLB have been felt directly in Washington state where, since the 2014 loss of a U.S. Department of Education waiver, 88 percent of schools have been deemed to be failing under NCLB standards, even when that is clearly not the case. The new ESSA law ends the need for waivers for states and replaces the one-size-fits-all approach of NCLB’s federal accountability system by shifting authority for academic standards and school accountability back to states and local school districts.
The bipartisan ESSA conference agreement passed by the House included aspects that were important to our region, including federal dollars to support locally-tailored improvements in the highest-need schools. The bill also authorized the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program that allocates federal funds based on need, population, as well as school district identified opportunity gaps. These grants will support programs to keep students safe and healthy, promote well rounded education opportunities such as foreign language and STEM, and encourage the effective use of technology in schools. Further, this education legislation improves the Migrant Education Program to prioritize services for migrant students who have dropped out of school. ESSA is a much needed step towards promoting fair and equal access to quality public education.
Since it was first enacted in 1965, the ESEA has played a key role in providing equal access to quality public education and helping to reduce educational inequalities. Significant work still remains to ensure that all of our students, regardless of where they live, receive high-quality instruction, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues to support students throughout our country.
Access to higher education is also extremely important to the success of our children. Whether through grants or scholarships, making higher education affordable is critical for the future of millions of students. I strongly support Pell Grants and maintaining access to low interest rates on student loans.
Providing a quality education to students in our public schools has become even more important. With an unemployment rate around five percent, there are millions of jobs that can’t be filled because our workforce does not have the skills needed to fill them. It is critical that we prepare our children for the competitive global economy and make sure they have the skills that directly apply to the type of employment opportunities available when they enter the workforce.
I am a strong advocate of investing in our education system through sound and effective policies that ensure a quality education is equally available to all children.
- Extending STEM Education to the Underrepresented: Cosponsor of the STEM Gateways Act, which allows the Department of Education to award competitive grants to schools and other entities to improve access to STEM education for women and underrepresented communities of color.
- Promoting Early Childhood Education: Joined 137 colleagues in sending a letter in support of $9.6 billion for the Head Start Program.
- Encouraging Youth Job Training: Cosponsor of the Youth Access to American Jobs Act, a bill that would establish a pilot program to promote public-private partnerships among apprenticeships or other job training programs, local educational agencies, and community colleges.
- Defending Affirmative Action: Along with other colleagues in the House, filed an amicus brief in support of the University of Texas at Austin affirmative action program.
- Maintaining Outreach to Disadvantaged Students: Sent a letter along with 155 colleagues strongly supporting Federal TRIO Programs. These outreach programs provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.
For more information on this issue, sign up to receive Congressman Smith’s email updates.
More on Education
“It is my honor to recognize the Odle Middle School team from Bellevue, Washington, for winning their regional competition in this year’s National Science Bowl. They have advanced to represent Washington state in the National Science Bowl’s National Finals, which will be held in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
“Today is Equal Pay Day, 94 days after the new year, and the day when women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. It is unacceptable that 53 years after passing the Equal Pay Act, women still make 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Congress must act now to make equal pay for equal work a reality and close the gender pay gap.
Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will host a Town Hall on Saturday, March 4, 2017 in Seattle. Congressman Smith is looking forward to meeting with constituents and hearing all questions and concerns.
Who: Congressman Adam Smith
What: Rep. Smith is hosting a Town Hall event where constituents can meet and interact with the Congressman and voice concerns on issues of the budget, immigration, education, the economy, national security and more.
When: Saturday, March 4, 2017, 10:00 am to 11:30 am
“I want to congratulate Friends of the Children (FOTC) for their tireless work towards breaking the cycle of generational poverty through exemplary community work to help our region’s most vulnerable populations,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the critical services FOTC offers, and has chosen to support FOTC as they continue to invest in our children’s future through programs like their One Child at a Time Expansion Project.
Congressman Smith to Host Town Hall in Seattle
Congressman Adam Smith visited Compass Veterans Center on Friday, February 10th, to deliver valentines made by local students through his office’s second annual Valentines for Vets program. Congressman Smith wants to make sure that our veterans receive recognition and thanks for their service around Valentine’s Day.
The beginning of a new year is a time to reflect on both our accomplishments during the last year, as well as an opportunity to consider thoughtful questions about what the future may hold.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith will visit Compass Veterans Center on Friday, February 10, 2017 to deliver valentines made by local students through his office’s second annual Valentines for Vets program. Congressman Smith wants to make sure that our veterans receive recognition and thanks for their service around Valentine’s Day. This annual program has been an engaging activity to help teach young people about the role of the members of the armed services and the sacrifices they make for us.
Valentine Distribution Information:
“It is a privilege to see young students like Jessica and Max demonstrating such a commitment to strengthening our communities. Their ability to complete challenging personal goals demonstrates determination and focus. They should be extremely proud of their accomplishments.
“Today, I join in celebrating the life and the achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. and honoring Dr. King’s dream of a nation where individuals are not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.