As I always say, criminology 101, if our youth are busy in school studying, participating in summer school and after school recreational activities, then they are staying out of trouble. I strongly believe that we all have a responsibility to the children in this nation to do everything we can, and use every means at our disposal, to encourage reading and academic progress for all kids, not just those with the financial resources to succeed. High-quality education is one of the central ingredients to ensure our nation’s children are given a quality start; and undoubtedly, a solid early learning foundation helps children succeed later in school, helps our nation to compete globally, and gives all Americans an equal opportunity to succeed later in life.
However, five decades after Brown v. Board of Education, we are still not offering all of America’s children equal educational opportunities. In addition to the achievement gap between low-income and minority children and their peers, American students suffer from a second kind of achievement gap when compared to their peers globally. In fact, our nation not only has one of the highest dropout rates worldwide, but all across income and background levels in math and science, our nation’s students go from among the top in the fourth grade to near the bottom by twelfth grade.
Although I am not a Member of the Committee on Education and Labor, I continually work closely with my colleagues to support innovative and critical education legislation to promote the betterment of our nation’s students and learning institutions. I will also continue to advocate for affirmative action in college admissions, and work to obtain proper funding for important programs such as after school and summer learning programs, funding for financial aid, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s), and numerous other essential educational programs. I have fought and will continue to fight relentlessly to improve and enforce full funding of the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, as well block Republican Party plans to increase private school voucher programs. And as always, I remain a faithful advocate for all of Florida’s schools, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.