Press Release ● Poverty and Opportunity
For Immediate Release: 
December 9, 2015
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Dr. John King, Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, met with the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity to discuss the Department’s work to ensure students can succeed in the classroom and are college- and career-ready. 

During the discussion, Dr. King and members of the Task Force discussed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The legislation passed the House last week and the Senate today with strong bipartisan votes. They also discussed the need to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and the Perkins Loan program so that we can ensure more students, especially those in low-income communities, can access affordable, quality higher education. 

“I thank Dr. King for joining the Task Force today to discuss how the Department of Education is working to ensure that every student in America can receive a world-class education,” stated Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer. “Their work to raise standards, close the achievement gap, and prepare every student for college and careers is critical to meeting our goal of eliminating poverty in America. While Congress took an important step by passing the Every Student Succeeds Act this month, there is more we can do to support these efforts, and I look forward to working with him and my colleagues to do so.”  

“It was an honor and privilege to have Dr. King at today’s Task Force meeting to discuss how the Department of Education is working to ensure that all children have an opportunity to learn,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity. “Education is one of our most powerful tools in addressing and ending poverty.  Congress must continue working to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education, from pre-K and Head Start to debt-free college.”

Launched in 2013, the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity works to raise the awareness of Members of Congress and the American people about the ongoing crisis of poverty, the positive human and economic impacts of effective poverty alleviation programs, and the need for a comprehensive national effort to eradicate poverty. The Task Force consults with key stakeholders and works closely with the Administration to develop support for strategies to eradicate poverty. Other meeting guests include Julian Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;  Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture; Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress; Martin Luther King III; and Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA).