Latoya Veal 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and includes the Full-Service Community Schools program. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“I thank Mr. Scott for yielding. I want to thank Mr. Kline, the Chairman of the Committee, and Ranking Member Scott for their work on this bill.
“Mr. Speaker, Frederick Douglass was born a slave on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He became one of the great leaders in our country – obviously worked hard with Abraham Lincoln to see the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. He said this: ‘It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.’ This bill is about investment in the future, investment in children. Investing in elementary and secondary education is one of the most consequential acts we will undertake in this House. The impact of our investments in education will be felt long after we are gone, and it will have a significant bearing on the future well-being of our economy and our democracy.
“I want to thank Chairman Kline and Ranking Member Scott as well as Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee, for their extraordinary efforts on this bill. This is a bipartisan bill. We worked together. Frankly, we had a little trouble working together here, but they worked together there, and then we worked together here. It's turning out well.
“My friend indicated that he would not give the bill an A+. I was trying to reflect on any bill that I’ve ever voted on that I would give an A+ to. It's not a perfect bill, but it represents a reasonable compromise that will strengthen elementary and secondary education in this country, provide certainty going forward, and help prepare the next generation of students – no matter who they are, how they learn, or where they live – for success in college, in their careers and their vocations, and as future innovators and entrepreneurs in our economy.
“I'm particularly proud – and I thank Mr. Scott, and I thank also the two Senate leaders, as well as Mr. Kline – that this conference report includes the Full Service Community Schools program, which I have championed for several years. My wife, Judy, was an early childhood educator and administrator in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She died over eighteen years ago. It is from her, however, that I first learned the potential of full-service community schools, and our state has very successfully created a network of schools using this integrated approach named in her memory.
“There will be fifty-two Judy centers around our state for three- and four-year-olds. Some of them are privately funded, they are so popular. Some publicly funded. And some in partnership. These Judy Centers enable low-income families with very young children to access a range of critical services all in one place. When starting kindergarten, children whose families participate in Judy Center programs perform better than those whose families did not. Judy Centers are helping to close that gap.
“In closing, I urge my colleagues to vote for this bill because it is a step forward. It is an indication as well that we can work in a bipartisan fashion to the benefit of the people we represent. So I urge my colleagues to vote for this conference report and yield back the balance of my time.”