Yesterday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, urged Congress to fix what she called the “skills gap.” Quoting extensively from NAS director of policy Rachelle Peterson’s May 23 op-ed in The Hill, Rep. Foxx argued that reform of the Higher Education Act was necessary to achieve this goal. Below are excerpts from her speech.
Watch the video on C-SPAN >
(Rep. Foxx begins speaking about the PROSPER Act at 6:20:53.)
Today, in The Hill, there was a terrific article encouraging this body and this Congress to pass the PROSPER Act, and I am going to quote some of the article. The article was entitled ‘‘Congress, Pass the PROSPER Act for Federal Student Aid Reform.’’ It is written by Rachelle Peterson.
‘‘It has been 53 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Higher Education Act into law, and 10 years since it was reauthorized, under President Obama. Over the years, the law— which touches nearly every aspect of higher education—has turned into a special interest bonanza. It shields traditional colleges from marketplace competition, weaves a labyrinthine web of student aid options, packs on the pork, and in the last administration served as a pretext for the Department of Education to invent politically charged regulations.
‘‘The PROSPER Act . . . would reauthorize the Higher Education Act and clean up the mess it has become. The bill would streamline Federal programs, relax burdensome regulations, forbid the Secretary of Education from acting outside the scope of the law, and protect the key principles of free speech and religious freedom.
‘‘Today, my organization, the National Association of Scholars, released a top-to-bottom review of the PROSPER Act, concluding that it represents the best opportunity to reform higher education in decades. With a few tweaks, the PROSPER Act should be passed at once. Two especially important areas—Federal student aid reform and protections for freedom of speech and association—show why.’’