Posted on February 2, 2005
WASHINGTON - Today Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was named chairman of the newly established United States Senate subcommittee on Education and Early Childhood Development. The subcommittee is part of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee chaired by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Alexander said, "I am grateful for the opportunity Sen. Enzi has given me to be so deeply involved in helping the federal government do its part to provide better schools, colleges and universities. Our subcommittee will be unusually busy this year. The Senate needs to reauthorize Head Start as well as the block grant to states that provides day care vouchers to one million low-income families. We will begin to examine the 69 federal programs that spend $21 billion helping children under the age of 5 to see how effectively these programs are working. We want to listen carefully to teachers and principals, school board members and parents to determine how well No Child Left Behind is working. I will be actively involved as the full committee reauthorizes legislation that provides 60 percent of our college students grants and loans to help pay for their education." Alexander served as chairman of the Children and Families Subcommittee upon coming to the Senate in 2003. As chairman he: · Was the principal sponsor of legislation that is now law, including: American History and Civics - creates summer residential academies for outstanding teachers and students of American history and civics. Head Start for military families - makes sure that extra combat pay does not make military families ineligible for Head Start and other federal benefits. Children with disabilities (IDEA) - allows parents of infants and toddlers more choices of how their children receive special education services and gives states more flexibility and time to insure that special education teachers are qualified under No Child Left Behind legislation. · Was principal sponsor of legislation that has passed the Senate: Community Services Block Grant/LIHEAP - helps 100,000 Tennesseans with job training, income management and emergency services and pays home heating and cooling bills for another 72,000 Tennesseans. · Is principal sponsor of other major pieces of legislation that are helping shape debate and will be considered in the 109th Congress: Pell Grants for Kids - gives K-8 students a $500 scholarship that follows them to the school or other accredited academic program of their parents' choice. Head Start - creates Centers of Excellence for Early Childhood Education and continues paying Head Start money directly to community groups rather than first to states. · Co-sponsored and helped to enact numerous pieces of legislation, including: Military families - allows soldiers to fly directly home instead of to a U.S. city often far from their hometown, which speeds up the soldier's homecoming and makes possible more time with family. Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act - provides grants to states to improve child protection systems and community-based family resource services. Child Care and Development Block Grant Program - improves early learning opportunities and school preparedness.