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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor earlier this morning on the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2014, which he is introducing today with Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL). Below are his remarks and a link to the video:
Click here for the video.
“Madam Speaker, I rise today alongside my Republican colleague from Illinois, Representative Aaron Schock, who is here to speak about the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2014, which we will be introducing later today. This is an issue that I have been working on, Madam Speaker, for several years, one that will help us close the achievement gap that too many of our children face. Our bipartisan bill creates a competitive grant program to expand the full-service community schools model across the country.
“Full-service community schools are an innovative approach to help students and their parents access a full range of critical services all in one place. Let me emphasize, these are services that are currently available but not as accessible because they are not centralized. We will encourage communities to put together the services that they already provide in an accessible way for children and their families.
“For low-income parents working multiple jobs as they send their kids to school, finding time to provide them with adequate checkups and dental screening is often very difficult. The full-community schools model locates these services at their children's school along with nutritional counseling, financial literacy education, and adult classes – services that in most communities are already offered – to make it easier for both students and parents to access these services under one roof. It also helps ensure parents have the tools they need to support their children's learning, so critically important to the children’s success.
“Studies show that when children are healthy, they learn better and have a better chance at academic success. Maryland has been employing this model for several years now in the form of Judy Centers, named for my late wife, Judy Hoyer, who was an early-childhood administrator in Prince George's County. The Maryland State Department of Education has found that children accessing services at Judy Centers perform better than their peers who did not when tested for kindergarten readiness. I know the Gentleman from Illinois has similar evidence from a full-service community school program in his state – in fact, in his district. In fact, his university, from which he graduated, partners with that full-service school – Bradley University in Peoria.
“The results are clear that the full-service community schools model has the potential – and, in fact, in our own state, we’ve realized that potential – to help millions of low-income families across the country ensure that their children can do well in school and have a better shot at being college or career ready when they graduate. This is good for America, it's good for the children, it's good for their families, it's good for our competitiveness.
“This legislation, Madam Speaker, is an example of what is possible when we set differences aside and work together. [Rep.] Aaron Schock is a good friend of mine. He’s a Republican, I’m a Democrat and some say, well, that doesn't really happen in Washington. But it does. Outside of the ambit of this bill, Aaron and I have worked on a number of pieces of legislation, and I am proud of the fact that we are working on this legislation together on behalf of children, on behalf of families, on behalf of our country.
“This legislation is an example of what is possible when we set our differences aside, as I said, to work together across the aisle to make progress for those who are trying to make it in America, for themselves and for their families. I want to thank Representative Schock for working with me, and I hope this Congress can come together, as the two of us have done, and work in a bipartisan fashion to pass this bill without delay.”