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Andy Harris on Education

 

 


Voted YES on reauthorizing the DC opportunity scholarship program.

Congressional Summary:The SOAR Act award five-year grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations to carry out an expanded school choice opportunities to students who are District of Columbia residents and who come from households:
  1. receiving assistance under the supplemental nutrition assistance program; or
  2. with incomes not exceeding 185% of the poverty line.
Provides funds to the Mayor of DC, if the Mayor agrees to specified requirements, for:
  1. the DC public schools to improve public education, and
  2. the DC public charter schools to improve and expand quality public charter schools.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Bishop, R-UT]: In 1996, Congress insisted upon a charter school program in DC. You will hear from both sides of the aisle recognition of the great value that that program has, and justifiably so. There is a waiting list in DC for those charter schools. This bill increases the percentage of funding going to charter schools in the District. In 2003, an Opportunity Scholarship was instituted, at the insistence of Congress. Again, there was a waiting list of people wanting the opportunity; disadvantaged kids who wanted the opportunity that this scholarship afforded them. There were 216 kids at the time scheduled to enter the program who were not allowed; the bill remedies that.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Hastings, D-FL]: In the last 41 years voters have rejected private school vouchers every time they have been proposed. In 1981, 89% of the people in a referendum in DC voted against vouchers. So how dare we come here to tell these people that we are going to thrust upon them something they don't want without a single public official in this community being consulted. Congress' oversight of the District is not an excuse for political pandering to the Republicans' special interest of the day du jour.

Reference: Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR); Bill HRes186 ; vote number 11-HV200 on Mar 30, 2011

Supports education vouchers for public or private school.

Harris supports the CC survey question on school vouchers

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Education vouchers that allow parents to choose public or private school for their children"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q7 on Aug 11, 2010

$110M per year to teach abstinence in public schools.

Harris co-sponsored Abstinence Education Reallocation Act

Congressional Summary:Authorizes the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to award grants for qualified sexual risk avoidance education to youth and their parents. Requires such education to meet certain criteria, including:

  1. being age-appropriate, medically accurate, and evidence-based;
  2. teaching the skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth; and
  3. teaching the benefits of refraining from nonmarital sexual activity, the advantage of reserving sexual activity for marriage, and the foundational components of a healthy relationship.
Gives priority to programs that serve youth ages 12 to 19 and that will promote the protective benefits of parent-child communication regarding healthy sexual decisionmaking.

Opponent's argument against bill: (Nick Wing on Huffington Post) How much could it cost to keep teenagers from having sex? More than $100 million per year over the course of five years would be a good starting place, according to the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act. The bill seeks to award $550 million in Affordable Care Act grants over five years to programs that provide teenagers with abstinence-only education.

The abstinence-only effort stands as an effective counter to the Democratic-backed Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. Introduced the same day as the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, the bill seeks to "expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools and ensure that federal funds are spent on effective, age-appropriate, medically accurate programs." The legislation would also set down guidelines calling for sexual health programs that receive federal funding to feature LGBT-inclusive language on a variety of issues, reject gender stereotypes and provide accurate information about HIV.

Source: S.13 / H.R.718 13-H0718 on Feb 15, 2013

Sponsored supporting the contributions of Catholic schools.

Harris co-sponsored House Resolution on parochial schools

    Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Ho
    Source: H.RES.46 13-HRes46 on Jan 23, 2013

    Denounce the Common Core State Standards.

    Harris co-sponsored Resolution against Common Core

    Congressional summary:: Strongly denouncing the President's coercion of States into adopting the Common Core State Standards by conferring preferences in Federal grants:

      Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
    1. States and local educational agencies should maintain the right and responsibility of determining educational curricula;
    2. the Federal Government should not incentivize the adoption of common education standards; and
    3. no application process for any Federal grant funds should provide any preference for the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

      Opponent's argument against (CoreStandards.org): The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. 45 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards [not adopted in TX, NE, AK, MN, and VA]. The nation's governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders provided input into the development of the standards.

      Source: HRes.476 & SRes.345 14-HR0476 on Feb 11, 2014

      A-PLUS lets states escape No Child Left Behind.

      Harris voted YEA A-PLUS Amendment To Student Success Act

      Heritage Action Summary: An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). The amendment, known as A-PLUS (Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success), would give the states the ability to consolidate their federal education funds and use them for any lawful education purpose they deem beneficial.

      Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (7/8/2015): A-PLUS lets states escape No Child Left Behind's prescriptive programmatic requirements. At its core, A-PLUS delivers on the promise of "restoring state and local control over the 10% of education funding financed by the federal government," moving dollars out of the hands of federal bureaucrats and political appointees and into the hands of those closer to the students. Now is the time for Congress to restore federalism in education, empower parents and students instead of bureaucrats and unions, and remove archaic obstacles that have prevented true opportunity for all.

      US News and World Report recommendation to vote NO: (4/7/2015): A-PLUS [is intended as] a no-strings-attached block grant. There isn't all that much the federal government can do well in education, but it's because of federally-required transparency that charter schools and voucher schools can demonstrate that they work. For example, New York City's Success Academy scores in the top 1% of all the state's public schools in math and in the top 3% in English. When Success Academy came under fire from teachers' union-backed Mayor Bill de Blasio, it was able to fight back with numbers to prove it. If a strong-union state were to receive a no-strings-attached block grant, transparency would be the first thing to go. A no-strings-attached block grant is an overreaction to federal overreach.

      Legislative outcome: Failed House 195 to 235 (no Senate vote)

      Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0005 argued on Jul 8, 2015

      Vouchers break link of low-income and low-quality schools.

      Harris voted YEA SOAR Act

      Heritage Action Summary: The House will vote to reauthorize the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (H.R. 10). The bill would continue funding through Fiscal Year 2021 and allow eligible students in Washington, D.C. to enroll in a participating private school.Analysis by Heritage Action:

      ACLU recommendation to vote NO: (Letter to U.S.House, 3/29/2011): The ACLU urges Congress to oppose the SOAR Act, legislation to restart and expand Washington DC's failed private and religious school voucher pilot program. Originally started as a five-year pilot program in 2004, the DC voucher program is the nation's first and only federally-funded private and religious school voucher program. Under the federal voucher pilot program, funds were provided to schools even though they infuse their curricular materials with specific religious content and even though they are not covered by many of the nation's civil rights statutes that would otherwise protect students against discrimination. Additionally, each of the congressionally-mandated studies to explore the pilot program concluded that the voucher program had no significant effect on the academic achievement.

      Cato Institute recommendation to vote YES: (4/28/2016): The Obama administration has repeatedly worked to undermine or eliminate the DC school choice program, even though it has the support of local Democratic politicians such as the DC Mayor and a majority of the DC City Council. Low-income students shouldn't be condemned to low-quality schools just because their parents cannot afford a home in a wealthy neighborhood. The DC program was an important step toward breaking the link between home prices and school quality.

      Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 240-191-3; never came to a vote in the Senate.

      Source: Supreme Court case 15-H0010 argued on Oct 21, 2015

      2017-18 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Education: Andy Harris on other issues:
      MD Gubernatorial:
      Alec Ross
      Ben Jealous
      John Delaney
      Larry Hogan
      Martin O`Malley
      Maya Cummings
      Richard Madaleno
      Robert Ehrlich
      Shawn Quinn
      MD Senatorial:
      Arvin Vohra
      Benjamin Cardin
      Chelsea Manning
      Chris Van Hollen
      Donna Edwards
      Kathy Szeliga
      Margaret Flowers
      Michael Steele
      Richard Douglas
      Sam Faddis
      Tony Campbell

      Freshman class of 2019:
      "Freshman class" means "not in Congress in January 2017", with exceptions:
      * Special election, so sworn in other than Jan. 2019
      ** Served in Congress in a previous term
      *** Lost recount or general election
      Freshman class of January 2019 (Republicans):
      AZ-8*:Lesko
      CA-39***:Kim
      FL-6:Waltz ; FL-15:Spano ; FL-17:Steube
      GA-7:Woodall
      ID-1**:Fulcher
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      IN-6:Pence
      KS-2:Watkins
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      MS-3:Guest
      MT-0*:Gianforte
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      SC-4:Timmons
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      VA-5:Riggleman ; VA-6:Cline
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      Freshman class of January 2019 (Democrats):
      AZ-2**:Kirkpatrick ; AZ-9:Stanton
      CA-49:Levin ; CA-10:Harder ; CA-21:Cox ; CA-25:Hill ; CA-39:Cisneros ; CA-45:Porter ; CA-48:Rouda
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      OK-5:Horn
      PA-4:Dean ; PA-5:Scanlon ; PA-6:Houlahan ; PA-7:Wild ; PA-17*:Lamb
      SC-1:Cunningham
      TX-7:Fletcher ; TX-16:Escobar ; TX-29:Garcia ; TX-32:Allred
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      Page last updated: May 13, 2020