ALEXANDER HIGHLIGHTS EDUCATIONAL REFORM NEEDS IN SPEECH TO NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE

Senator Praises Group’s Ongoing Efforts to Improve the Lives of African-Americans and Calls For Teaching the Full History of America

Posted on March 6, 2008

**** “We need to make sure that every American child is taught the full history of our nation. That means teaching about segregation, but also about the underground railroad. It means teaching about slavery, but also the Thirteenth Amendment.” –Lamar Alexander *** U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today highlighted needed educational reforms he is pursuing in Congress while stressing that American children need to be taught the full history of the United States during remarks to the National Urban League Annual Legislative Policy Conference. “We need to make sure that every American child is taught the full history of our nation,” Alexander said today during a speech at the U.S. Capitol to members of the Urban League that included nearly 150 Tennesseans. “That means teaching about segregation, but also about the underground railroad. It means teaching about slavery, but also the Thirteenth Amendment.” In his remarks to the National Urban League, Alexander outlined ways that he is working in Congress to help bring about education reform, highlighting these legislative proposals: • Pell Grants for Kids o An Alexander proposal creating $500 scholarships to 30 million low and middle income students to pay for educational expenses, such as after school programs, tutoring services, and private school tuition. • Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) o Alexander is the lead Senate proponent for increased TIF funding to train and compensate principals and teachers who help low income children achieve better results. • Head Start – Centers for Excellence o Alexander authored the provision included in recently enacted legislation creating 200 Centers of Excellence to provide examples to Head Start programs across the country of how to efficiently coordinate state, local and federal efforts in early childhood education. • Year round Pell Grants o Alexander is author of legislation for year-round Pell Grants that would give students flexibility to continue their education over the summer, allowing many to graduate early. Alexander also said Congress needs to be focused on helping American families balance their budgets and that these educational reforms would help keep more money in the pocketbooks of American families. Alexander was introduced by Marc Morial – the National Urban League’s President and CEO and the former mayor of New Orleans. Alexander recounted his days as a clerk for law clerk in New Orleans for Judge Minor Wisdom on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Alexander thanked the National Urban League for its role in the Civil Rights movement and the group’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of African-Americans. “The National Urban League has played a key role in making America – which remains a work in progress – a better place,” said Alexander. “As a country we often look to see how far we have to go in race relations, but speaking here before the Urban League reminds me of how far we have come.” ##