A solid educational system is the cornerstone of a prosperous, vital society. Congressman Pascrell believes that a national, bipartisan commitment to providing greater resources for our education system is the most important investment we can make in our children and our future.
Bill has worked in Congress to fully fund pre-school and after-school programs, to modernize classrooms and reduce class size, to improve graduation rates, and to ensure that we have well-trained, highly qualified instructors in every classroom. He is using his unique experience as an educator to work for policy improvements that will enhance the greatest educational system in the world.
As middle class and working class Americans are struggling to create a better life for their children, cuts in health care and education have increased the hurdles they face. Congressman Pascrell will continue to fight for the priorities that matter to American families: strengthening education, increasing job training, and creating employment opportunities for Americans once they graduate from school.
Bill supports the goal of "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) to create an accountability system that helps ensure that all children, regardless of how disadvantaged, are given the education they need to be productive, successful, contributing members of society.
He believes, however, that the legislation is a rather blunt instrument meant to address a challenge that requires smart, flexible solutions. Bill believes that "No Child Left Behind" must be responsive to and informed by local educators who are implementing the Act's provisions. Bill has worked to fully fund the NCLB reforms while advocating refinements of the law. He believes that the legislation's emphasis should shift from punishing good schools for not being impossibly perfect, to holding states and localities responsible for monitoring student progress and achievement in ways that are reasonable, comprehensive, and achievable. Bill believes that Congress must find a way for schools, teachers, parents and communities to come together to focus on education reform that puts our children's education and their futures first.
Bill became deeply involved in the issue of campus fire safety after experiencing the terrible aftermath of a catastrophic fire at Seton Hall University in 2000. In 2008, he introduced and helped pass into law the "Campus Fire Safety Right to Know Act," bipartisan legislation requiring colleges and universities to provide prospective and current students and parents with a report of the school's campus fire safety policies and records. This bill requires that campus fire safety information be made public, providing a powerful incentive for colleges and universities to voluntarily upgrade their safety systems. This past year, Bill introduced the "Campus Fire Safety Education Act," bipartisan legislation that would create a Department of Education grant program to provide universities with the resources they need to deliver innovative campus fire safety information to their students.
Bill has always supported ways of finding students more opportunities to get involved and contribute to their local communities through volunteerism. In 2009, Congress passed and the President signed the Serve America Act, HR 1388, which creates 175,000 new volunteer opportunities for Americans by expanding existing programs, like AmeriCorps, as well as establishing four new service corps to address key needs in low income communities.
America's students and parents have an unyielding advocate in Bill Pascrell. His experience as a teacher in New Jersey's public schools has left an indelible imprint on his career in Congress. Bill's love for education will continue to drive him as he fights against slashing education budgets here in Washington and for the rights of teachers and students back home in his district.