Education - Meet the Freshmen

Education

The 117th Congress ended with the Biden administration making good on a campaign promise to cancel student debt for over 20 million Americans, a policy priority for Democrats.[i] Having notched this win, Democrats are entering the new term with their eyes on additional ways to make higher education accessible and affordable for more Americans.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)–a former preschool teacher and Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee–and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) are both working on bills to provide universal pre-K to millions of preschool-aged children–something President Biden maintains will lead to Gen-Z being the “most-educated generation.”[ii] [iii]

Meanwhile, Republicans eye the educational system more skeptically, and their policy priorities reflect that. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) released a plan to abolish the US Department of Education and eliminate the $75 billion in federal funding it administers.[iv]

Other members of Scott’s party are taking more limited approaches to educational oversight. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI-05) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) both could take a second shot at bills they’ve introduced previously–Hawley’s 2021 Parents’ Bill of Rights Act and Fitzgerald’s CRT Transparency Act–both of which are intended to intervene in classroom curriculum and expand parent choice.[v] [vi]


[i] “FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most,” The White House, August 24, 2022, available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-student-loan-relief-for-borrowers-who-need-it-most/.

[ii] Aaron Kunkler, “Sen. Patty Murray proposes universal pre-K in Build Back Better,” Washington State Wire, November 3, 2021, available at https://washingtonstatewire.com/sen-patty-murray-proposed-universal-pre-k-in-build-back-better/.

[iii] “Education,” Office of US Representative Bobby Scott, accessed November 7, 2022, available at https://bobbyscott.house.gov/issues/education.

[iv] “Education,” Rescue America, accessed November 7, 2022, available at https://rescueamerica.com/steps/1-education/.

[v] S 3218 – Parents’ Bill of Rights Act of 2021, November 11, 2021, available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/3218?s=1&r=45.

[vi] HR 5162 – CRT Transparency Act, September 3, 2021, available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5162/text?r=85&s=1.

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