Since 1965, the overall funding per student in the United States has tripled, and today our country spends almost $12,000 educating each student every year. However, the educational investment our federal, state, and local governments make has yielded minimal improvement. Student test scores in math and reading have remained flat, and graduation rates remain stagnant.
As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I understand the quality of our children’s education directly effects how we as a state and country will prosper at home and compete globally. Michigan cannot create a smart and successful workforce without a well educated youth, and it is important to our economic growth and ability to create jobs. I believe that successfully educating Michigan’s future workforce depends on how much control we have in our state and community. While they may think so, bureaucrats in Washington do not know more than Michigan’s parents about the needs of our children.
Return Control to State and Local Educators
As a member of Congress I have consistently supported legislative initiatives that would give the states, parents and teachers the ability to determine the educational needs of our children. In December 2015, I voted in support of S.1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, to reform the nation’s K-12 education system by putting control back in the hands of parents, school leaders and local communities. Our emphasis on increased state and local control by these education leaders will help put more children on course for a successful future. It also removes the Secretary of Education’s ability to incentivize states to adopt Common Core standards.
Michigan parents should have the opportunity to choose the type of education their children receive. I believe that if federal scholarships are made available to some students in failing schools, they should be allowed to attend the educational institution of their choice, free from government interference. During the 113th Congress, I joined my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in passing H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act, which supports state efforts to develop and expand charter schools while supporting greater choice for parents and opportunities for children.
The cost of college has increased steadily over the past decade and the average undergraduate student has accumulated more than $25,000 of student loan debt. We must do more to incentivize and support those who plan ahead and save for education. In February 2015, I joined Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and introduced H.R. 701, the Helping Families Save for Education Act, which allows working families to save more money over a longer time period to help pay for tuition, books, and other educational expenses. Additionally, on February 25, 2015, I helped pass bipartisan legislation, H.R. 529, to expand and strengthen 529 college saving accounts, which became law in December 2015 as part of P.L. 114-113.
To assist current students and recent graduates, I supported and the House passed H.R. 1911, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, during the 113th Congress to strengthen the federal student loan program by establishing a market-based interest rate, while also locking in the interest rate for students at origination for the life of the loan. If you are interested in learning more about what college financing options may be available to you, please visit here.
Higher Education Act
The current higher education system is too expensive and bureaucratic, and I’ve supported meaningful, bipartisan solutions to reform federal policies so that more students can pursue the dream of a college degree. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has begun the process of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, and you can follow my efforts on the Committee here.
02/07/2017 – Walberg Discusses Ways to Close Skills Gap, Strengthen Workforce
07/07/2016 – Walberg: Empower Students, Workers to Succeed in Workforce
06/23/2016 – Walberg: Restore Local Control in Education
05/17/2016 – Walberg Works to Strengthen Career and Technical Education
04/29/2016 – Walberg: Focus on Putting Students on Path to Success
02/24/2016 – Walberg Questions Education Secretary About Flawed College Scorecard
11/18/2015 – Walberg Questions Education Officials on Strategic Plan to Improve Federal Student Aid
10/09/2015 – Walberg Speaks Out for DC Opportunity Scholarship Program
10/07/2015 – Walberg Questions Education Experts on How to Strengthen Head Start
02/04/2015 – Walberg, Governor Pence Discuss How States Can Remove Barriers to Jobs
Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 701, the Helping Families Save for Education Act
Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 2965, Building on Local District Flexibility in IDEA Act
07/23/2015 – Cosponsored: H.R. 3179. Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act
07/23/2015 – Cosponsored: H.R. 3178, Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act
07/23/2015 – Cosponsored: H.R. 3177, Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act
05/21/2015 – Cosponsored: H.R. 970, Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act
02/05/2015 – Cosponsored: H.R. 769, Safeguarding Classrooms Hurt by ObamaCare’s Obligatory Levies
01/26/2015 - Cosponsored: H.R. 524, Local Control of Education Act