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Education is a cornerstone of this country and throughout my time in Congress, it has been a top legislative priority to ensure that every child has access to a quality education. I am committed to improving our public schools and making higher education more affordable for all. 

Education is the only way to turn the American Dream into a reality for all of our nation's children. This year Congress passed the single largest investment in college financial assistance since the 1944 GI Bill. I cosponsored the College Cost Reduction Act, which became law on September 27, 2007, because the United States must invest and make college more affordable across the country. This bill would increase student financial aid by $18 billion and increase the maximum Pell Grant scholarship by $900 for eligible students. Georgia families will feel a direct impact from this legislation as over $859 million dollars will be added to our state's loan and Pell aid programs over the next five years. An important part of this bill is the reduction in interest rates on student loans from 6.8% to 3.4%, which will occur incrementally in the next 5 years. Over the life of a loan, this reduction will save a typical Georgia college student $4,230.

The College Cost Reduction Act also supports minority students and minority serving education institutions. As is clear from the declining minority graduation rates, minorities and low-income students are having a difficult time in our education system. The College Cost Reduction Act tries to help in this area by making landmark investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and minority serving institutions.

No Child Left Behind

In recent years, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has been at the forefront of education reform. NCLB is currently up for reauthorization in Congress and I am working, in close conjunction with my colleagues, to correct some of the flaws in the law.

The goal of NCLB is to enable all American children to succeed in school regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or disability. However, we need to revise how we measure student achievement and the testing methods we use. Too many of today's teachers feel they must "teach the test." We need multiple measures to assess the growth of students and to ensure our students are becoming well-rounded individuals. When measuring student achievement, we need to understand how students are performing, not just by race and ethnicity, but also by gender. Too many African-American and Latino men are lagging behind women in their corresponding racial and ethnic groups. Of particular concern is that the United States of America has one of the highest dropout rates in the world. This is unacceptable. Those who are struggling need the most help so they can graduate and become productive members of society.

Congress must ensure that NCLB targets more resources to underperforming schools and districts. If we continue to refuse to invest the necessary resources in our children's education, no law will solve our education crisis.

Special Initiatives in Education:

Head Start Receives Increased Funding

Congress took an important and necessary step this December to help reach our nation's neediest youth when the Head Start program was re-authorized with increased funding. I am a strong supporter of this program and fought for the funding increase. Head Start combines education activities with social services, such as health and nutrition, and emphasizes parental involvement in childhood development. At last count, over 900,000 children up to the age of five were enrolled in the program, and over its history has served over 24 million American children.

Fighting for the YouthBuild Program  

YouthBuild is an important federal program which has proven it can bring youth who have dropped out of high school or have been mandated by the court system to pursue productive employment, higher education, and civic engagement.



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