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Beto O`Rourke on Education

 

 


More pre-school; more science teachers

    Three areas that I will make a top priority if elected to Congress:
  1. Increase access to preschool education. Decades of research has shown that students who attend preschool earn significantly higher income, attain high levels of education, and commit fewer criminal acts than their peers. We must create a pathway for all children to begin school ready to succeed.
  2. Revise the No Child Left Behind Act. The current NCLB Act warps the priorities of public schools by emphasizing only the content on multiple choice math and reading tests.
  3. Incentivize math & science teachers. The country's future growth is reliant on jobs that require a mastery of math and science. Yet, schools face a chronic shortage of qualified math and science teachers. I propose that we increase the pool of talented and qualified teachers by providing scholarships for best and brightest students who commit to becoming math and science teachers in the public schools for five years after graduating.
    Source: 2012 House campaign website, betoforcongress.com, "Issues" , Nov 6, 2012

    Comprehensive sex ed for sexually-active adolescents.

    O`Rourke co-sponsored Real Education for Healthy Youth Act

    Award competitive grants to provide adolescents with comprehensive sex education to:

    1. replicate evidence-based sex education programs,
    2. substantially incorporate elements of evidence-based sex education programs, or
    3. create a demonstration project based on generally accepted characteristics of effective sex education programs.
    Prohibits federal funds provided under this Act from being used for health education programs that:
    1. deliberately withhold life-saving information about HIV;
    2. are medically inaccurate or have been scientifically shown to be ineffective;
    3. promote gender stereotypes;
    4. are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of sexually active youth or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth; or
    5. are inconsistent with the ethical imperatives of medicine and public health.

    Opponent's argument against bill: (Nick Wing on Huffington Post) An abstinence-only effort, introduced the same day, the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, stands as an effective counter to the Democratic-backed Real Education for Healthy Youth Act.

    According to the text of the abstinence-only bill, sex education programs would need to be "medically accurate" and teach the "skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth" in order to qualify for grant money. The bill also calls for applicable programs to focus on the "holistic health, economic, and societal benefits that can be gained by refraining from non-marital sexual activity," as well as to provide an "understanding of how drugs, alcohol, and the irresponsible use of social media can influence sexual decision-making and can contribute to risky and often aggressive sexual behavior."

    Source: H.R.725 / S.372 13-H0725 on Feb 14, 2013

    Sponsored extending subsidized federal student loan rates until 2015.

    O`Rourke co-sponsored Student Loan Affordability Act

    Congressional Summary:Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the 3.4% interest rate on Federal Direct Stafford loans to loans first disbursed to undergraduate students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2015. Replaces the [termination date of] 2013 with 2015.

    Proponent's argument for bill:(US PIRG press release): The Student Loan Affordability Act keeps interest rates affordable for students over the next two years. If Congress fails to act by July 1, interest rates on federal Subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. That would hike the cost of college by $1,000 per student, per loan, for over 7 million students across the country. The bill pays for extending the current interest rates through 2015 by closing three non-education tax loopholes.

    Opponent's argument against bill:(Rep. Tom Cotton, R-AR): Unfortunately, too many students today struggle for years to repay their loans because Washington politicians dictate student-loan rates and end up hurting students and taxpayers alike. It's causing tuition costs to skyrocket, leaving students buried in debt, often without jobs, and forced to delay buying a home and starting a family. As students struggle to repay their loans--regardless of the interest rate--taxpayers are on the hook for a $100 billion bailout--a burden hard-working Arkansans shouldn't have to bear. A better path is to let Arkansas's hometown banks work with students and families to finance higher education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses, and other loans. I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business.

    Source: S.707 / H.R.1433 13-H1433 on Apr 11, 2013

    No-strings-attached block grant will kill transparency.

    O`Rourke voted NAY A-PLUS Amendment To Student Success Act

    Heritage Action Summary: An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). The amendment, known as A-PLUS (Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success), would give the states the ability to consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial.

    Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (7/8/2015): A-PLUS lets states escape No Child Left Behind's prescriptive programmatic requirements. At its core, A-PLUS delivers on the promise of "restoring state and local control over the 10% of education funding financed by the federal government," moving dollars out of the hands of federal bureaucrats and political appointees and into the hands of those closer to the students. Now is the time for Congress to restore federalism in education, empower parents and students instead of bureaucrats and unions, and remove archaic obstacles that have prevented true opportunity for all.

    US News and World Report recommendation to vote NO: (4/7/2015): A-PLUS [is intended as] a no-strings-attached block grant. There isn't all that much the federal government can do well in education, but it's because of federally-required transparency that charter schools and voucher schools can demonstrate that they work. For example, New York City's Success Academy scores in the top 1% of all the state's public schools in math and in the top 3% in English. When Success Academy came under fire from teachers' union-backed Mayor Bill de Blasio, it was able to fight back with numbers to prove it. If a strong-union state were to receive a no-strings-attached block grant, transparency would be the first thing to go. A no-strings-attached block grant is an overreaction to federal overreach.

    Legislative outcome: Failed House 195 to 235 (no Senate vote)

    Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0005 argued on Jul 8, 2015

    Oppose private and religious school voucher programs.

    O`Rourke voted NAY SOAR Act

    Heritage Action Summary: The House will vote to reauthorize the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R. 10). The bill would continue funding through Fiscal Year 2021 and allow eligible students in Washington, D.C. to enroll in a participating private school.Analysis by Heritage Action:

    ACLU recommendation to vote NO: (Letter to U.S.House, 3/29/2011): The ACLU urges Congress to oppose the SOAR Act, legislation to restart and expand Washington DC's failed private and religious school voucher pilot program. Originally started as a five-year pilot program in 2004, the DC voucher program is the nation's first and only federally-funded private and religious school voucher program. Under the federal voucher pilot program, funds were provided to schools even though they infuse their curricular materials with specific religious content and even though they are not covered by many of the nation's civil rights statutes that would otherwise protect students against discrimination. Additionally, each of the congressionally-mandated studies to explore the pilot program concluded that the voucher program had no significant effect on the academic achievement.

    Cato Institute recommendation to vote YES: (4/28/2016): The Obama administration has repeatedly worked to undermine or eliminate the DC school choice program, even though it has the support of local Democratic politicians such as the DC Mayor and a majority of the DC City Council. Low-income students shouldn't be condemned to low-quality schools just because their parents cannot afford a home in a wealthy neighborhood. The DC program was an important step toward breaking the link between home prices and school quality.

    Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 240-191-3; never came to a vote in the Senate.

    Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0010 argued on Oct 21, 2015

    Make two years of community college free.

    O`Rourke signed making two years of community college free

    Excerpts from press release from Tammy Baldwin, Senate sponsor: The America's College Promise Act makes two years of community college free by:

    Community, technical, and tribal colleges enroll 40% of all college students today. Community colleges are uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing and advanced manufacturing.

    Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "College Courtesy of the Taxpayer? No Thanks," Jan. 9, 2015): One look at either community college outcomes or labor market outlooks reveals free college to be educational folly. Community college completion rates are atrocious: a mere 19.5% of community college students complete their programs. Meanwhile, the for-profit sector has an almost 63% completion rate. And [about 70%] of the new job categories in coming years will require a high school diploma or less.

    Opposing argument: (Heritage Foundation, "Free Community College Is a Bad Deal", July 15, 2016): Free college proposals would subject community colleges to the same types of subsidies-induced inflation endemic at four-year institutions. And low-income students already have access to federal Pell Grants, which can cover the bulk of community college tuition. By contrast, a more open market of alternative schooling models, such as online or vocational education programs, could better tailor degrees at a lower cost.

    Source: S.1716 & H.R.2962 15-H2962 on Jul 8, 2015

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    Page last updated: Jun 04, 2018