Today our country spends $668 billion each year educating students in public elementary and secondary schools. That equates to about $13,000 for each student. With such a huge educational investment, governments at the federal, state and local levels have a duty to ensure our children are receiving an excellent education that meets their needs and prepares them for success in either the workforce or higher education.
As a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, 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. 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. 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.
The cost of college has increased steadily over the past decade. On average, students in Michigan are graduating with about $31,000 in debt. We must do more to incentivize and support those who plan ahead and save for education. Additionally, we must look for ways to streamline and simplify our federal student aid system, so students and families can effectively navigate their options and find what works best for them. 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. Last Congress, I introduced the Faster Access to Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Act, which would streamline and simplify the federal financial aid process. The House Committee and Education and Labor has been working to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Any reforms to our higher education policies and programs must prioritize reducing costs and emphasize the importance of completion, while simplifying and improving student aid programs, and increasing transparency in prices and program outcomes. To learn more about the committee’s efforts, please click here.
To learn more about relief for federal student loan borrowers during the Coronavirus pandemic, please click here.
Career and Technical Education
When I meet with educators, manufacturers, and career centers in Michigan, I hear about the struggle to find well-trained workers to meet the ever-growing demand in the skilled trades or technical fields. In July 2018, the President signed into law, H.R.2353, a bill to reauthorize and improve the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act – legislation that has provided federal support to state and local career and technical education programs for over 30 years. I strongly supported H.R.2353, which updates the law to expand opportunities for students and workers looking to gain new skills to compete for in-demand jobs. Additionally, H.R.2353 contained language from my bill, H.R.2155, the New Hope Act, which gives states additional flexibility to identify, consolidate, or eliminate licensing requirements that pose an unnecessary barrier to entry for aspiring workers and provide limited consumer protection.
06/19/2019 – Walberg Discusses High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree
03/13/2019 – Walberg Asks About Barriers in College Affordability
07/25/2018 – Walberg Champions Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Career and Technical Education
06/22/2017 – Walberg Champions Career and Technical Education, 21st Century Job Creation
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
06/12/2019 – Sponsored Legislation: H.R. 3243, Equal Campus Access Act
05/07/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R. 2480, Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
05/02/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.1043, Employer Participation in Repayment Act
03/07/2019 – Cosponsored: H.Res.191 Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives relating to protecting freedom of speech, thought, and expression at institutions of higher education
02/28/2019 – Cosponsored: H.R.1434, Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act
12/20/2018 – Sponsored Legislation: H.R.7386, Faster Access to Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Act
05/01/2018 – Cosponsored: H.R.1635, Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act
04/26/2017 – Sponsored Legislation: H.R.2155, New HOPE Act
03/07/2017 – Cosponsored: H.R.1387, Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization
03/06/2017 – Cosponsored: H.R.2353, Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act
02/09/2017 – Sponsored Legislation: H.R.999 Helping Families Save for Education Act