Jan 152015
 

There are nearly 350 languages spoken in America. In nearly one third of all American households, English is not the primary language spoken. Bilingual people are efficient in the use of more than one language. Some critics view bilingual education as an impediment, rather than a means, to acquire proficiency in English. Others fear the use of Spanish in our country may someday threaten English. They point to Canada, divided over the use of French and English, and say this can happen here also. Supporters say bilingual skills are not threats to American society, but assets. They claim bilingual education programs were created to help second-language children learn English, obtain an education and integrate into our society. They say that without these programs, these children will lag behind their peers and may never fulfill their academic or personal potential.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.2516 – PRIDE Act

I oppose reforming current bilingual education policy and wish to defeat H.R.2516

I support awarding up to five grants for the implementation of dual language demonstration programs designed to enhance and assess the biliteracy and bilingualism skills of low-income minority and limited English proficient children from preschool through grade five, and wish to pass H.R.2516

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees a “free and appropriate education” to all American children with disabilities regardless of their physical or mental disability. IDEA’s goal is to prepare children with disabilities for further education, employment and independent living. Before this legislation, more than a million of these American children were unable or prohibited from receiving an education. Now, about 6 million students are covered by IDEA, which has an annual budget of about $12 billion. Advocates claim that as result of this law many people, rather than being housed in institutions at taxpayer expense, are now enrolled in college and participating in our workforce. However, estimates of the number of American children eligible for coverage under IDEA range from 15 million to three times this number. Currently, IDEA is only helping about 6.5 million children minimize their disabilities. Advocates say state and local budget cuts are limiting IDEA’s services to only the most seriously disabled, leaving many millions of needy and qualified children without help. They also claim states and local school districts are failing to identify and enroll many eligible students in IDEA. Nor are these administrators forthcoming in giving parents of children with disabilities information on the services that IDEA could provide for their children. Advocates say parents are in the best position to advocate for their child and that they should know their rights, keep records, and get written evaluations of their children whenever examined. Advocates say the government needs to be more proactive in their oversight of this program and ensure all students with disabilities receive the assistance they need.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.511 – TEAM-Empowerment Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current students with disabilities policy and wish to defeat H.R.511

I support providing assistance to States for development and implementation of an individual transition plan for each individual with a developmental disability in the State who is making the transition from the secondary school system into adulthood, and wish to pass H.R.511

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring the federal government to ensure all eligible students with disabilities have access to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Early childhood, the first six years of life, is a critical time for children to develop the physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills they will need for the rest of their life. Good nutrition and health care are essential to maximize this developmental process. Head Start is a 48 year-old $6.4 billion federal program helping children attain this goal. Head Start is one of our most successful and longest-running programs fighting systemic poverty. About 30 million children from low-income families have attended Head Start programs and there are about a million children enrolled today. Beginning at age three, Head Start kids learn fundamental cognitive skills while developing the social and emotional capabilities to begin school. Head Start feeds these children and provides medical, dental and mental health care. Their parents learn about nutrition, child development, and are guided into appropriate community programs if needed. However, due to budget constraints, only 3 of 5 eligible children are currently enrolled in one of the 2,500 Head Start programs nationwide. To make matters worse, at least 58,000 children were cut from Head Start programs in 2013 due to budget sequestration cuts.

Pending Legislation:

S.322 – Ready to Learn Act

I oppose reforming current Head Start policy and wish to defeat S.322

I support awarding grants to states for high-quality full day voluntary pre-kindergarten programs, including Head Start, that prepare four-year olds for school; requiring that such programs first serve children whose family income is no higher than 200% of the poverty level or who are limited English proficient; ensuring that, within two years of grant receipt, each classroom is taught by a teacher who has at least a baccalaureate degree in early childhood education; have teacher-child ratios of no more than 1 to 10 and group sizes of no more than 20, and wish to pass S.322

 Posted by at 12:00 am