WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) was joined by Senator Ben Nelson and Save the Children Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner today to introduce the Full-Service Community Schools Act of 2009. This bill aims to expand full-service community schools across the nation. These are public schools that coordinate academic and non-academic services, including health services, career counseling for parents, nutrition services, and early childhood education to give students a full support network to help them succeed. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“The motive behind community schools is a simple one: getting every child in America the education he or she deserves.
“Of course, excellent teachers are essential to that goal. But the truth is that so many of our children are at a disadvantage from the first day of class. Maybe they come to school hungry or sick; maybe they can’t shake their minds off of violence or money problems at home. For these children, success depends on more than the classroom.
“Full-service community schools remove the roadblocks that keep students from taking full advantage of their education. They work with community members and local businesses to coordinate a wide range of services for children and their families, from health clinics and dental care, to mental health counseling, to English lessons or adult courses for parents, to nutrition education and career advice.
“At a full-service community school, all of those services can be found in one convenient, efficient place. Community schools stay open well past school hours and on weekends—and they quickly become the heart of their neighborhoods.
“Leading educators, along with President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan, are giving their strong support to this new generation of schools, because the results speak for themselves. Full-service community schools see better parent participation, higher attendance, and—most important of all—higher student achievement.
“The bill we’re introducing would provide grants for school districts and states to create the kind of community-centered programs that have had so much success across the nation. It would mean many more community schools for America—and for that reason, I think it is one of the most important pieces of school legislation in recent years. There are few better investments we can make in the health of our communities and our children’s futures.”