Olympia Snowe on Education

Last Updated : Jan 31, 2011

Summary

In 2001, Senator Snowe voted in favor of No Child Left Behind. In 2005 and 2007, Senator Snowe introduced legislation to alter NCLB through a provision that would provide significant relief for teachers of multiple subjects in meeting high quality teacher requirements. It also gives teachers new options to make use of a “minor” in a subject and allows teachers to obtain a general state social-studies certificate. The legislation also allows states greater options in the design of systems to demonstrate student performance, such as growth models, where the same students are followed over time. In addition, the legislation requires the secretary to provide specific examples of how these models could be approved. This would give states practical assistance in the design of these systems.

Senator Snowe also introduced legislation to allow people to use the flexible spending accounts to pay for tutors. The legislation they introduced would permit the use of a dependent care FSA to cover supplemental instructional expenses for children between the ages of 5 and 19 who have not obtained a high school diploma. Targeted to middle-class families, the incentive would be available to employees earning under $105,000. Additionally, supplemental instructional expenses would be subject to a combined $5,000 cap with dependent care expenses.

 

No Child Left Behind

In September of 2005, Senator Snowe introduced legislation to improve No Child Left Behind. She released a press statement noting her support for the legislation. 

In February of 2007, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting legislation that she was introducing to alter the No Child Left Behind Act to make it more flexible.

 

America COMPETES Act

In August of 2007, Senator Snowe released a press statement noting her support for the passage of the America COMPETES Act.

 

FSAs and Tutors

In September of 2008, Senator Snowe introduced legislation to allow people to use their flexible spending accounts to access tutors.

Voting Record

College Cost Reduction and Access Act

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act is a significant education bill dealing largely with funding for higher education. The bill removes tuition sensitivity for Pell Grants, increases the amount available for Pell grants, Funds the Upward Bound program, establishes the TEACH Grants, reduces student loan repayment rates, sets deferments based on need and establishes some partner based grants. The bill got a great deal of support in the Senate and passed easily. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

Standards vs Tutors

Again in 2001, the Senate voted on another amendment which would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace a previous amendment which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors. The amendment was widely supported by Democrats, but widely opposed by Republicans. It failed to pass in a 50-47 vote. Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment and supported private tutors over creating standards.

Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment and supported private tutors over creating standards.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

No Child Left Behind was the primary focus of the Bush administration prior to 9/11. The bill requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. The Act does not assert a national achievement standard; standards are set by each individual state. The bill got the support of all but 2 Democrats and all but 6 Republicans and passed the Senate in a 91-8 vote. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Amendment - Voucher Program

In June 2001, Senator Gregg introduced an amendment to create a test voucher program for low income students in failing schools. The program would have been in 10 cities and three states. Olympia Snowe voted against the voucher program.

Olympia Snowe voted against the voucher program.

Teachers vs Tutors

In 2001, the Senate voted on an amendment to the Better Education for Students and Teachers Act which would have provided $2.4 billion in funding in fiscal 2002 for state and local services to hire up to 100,00 additional teachers. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors. Every Democrat that voted supported the amendment, and every Republican that voted opposed the amendment. Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment and supported funding for tutors over additional teachers.

Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment and supported funding for tutors over additional teachers.

Affordable Education Act of 2000

The Affordable Education Act of 2000 was voted on in early 2000. Among other things, the bill would have allowed tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses. The bill passed the Senate in a 61-37 vote. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Affordable Education Act of 2000.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Affordable Education Act of 2000.

Rules Waiver

In 1999, the Senate voted on an amendment to the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 which would have allowed states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. A vote in favor of the amendment would have signified support for vouchers and school choice. Every Democrat that voted opposed the amendment, and every Republican that voted supported the amendment. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the amendment and supported school choice.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the amendment and supported school choice.

Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998

This 1998 legislation would have allowed people to take money from their IRAs to pay for qualified elementary and secondary education expenses, including home schooling expenses. It increased the annual contribution limit from $500 to $2,000. It permits corporations to contribute to education IRAs. Although the bill passed in the Senate easily, it was vetoed by the President. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998

In 1998, the Education Savings Act for Public and Private Schools Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998 attempted to create tax-sheltered educational savings accounts. Although the bill got a majority of the votes, it did not get the numbers needed and failed to pass with the support of most Republicans, but the opposition of most Democrats. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Amendment - Vouchers in DC

In 1999, the Senate voted on an amendment to the DC appropriations bill that would have installed a voucher system to allow students to choose to attend a private school, or any school other than their assigned public school. The measure failed to get the votes it needed with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats voting in opposition to it. Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the DC voucher system.

Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the DC voucher system.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-112; Bill Number-S 280; No Child Left Behind Flexibility and Improvements Act - Cosponsor

Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to revise requirements relating to annual yearly progress (AYP) of students and schools, statewide and local accountability systems, special education, limited English proficiency students, funding levels and academic assessment deferrals, highly qualified teachers, and reading activities. Authorizes the Secretary of Education to modify an AYP timeline. Allows states to use: (1) additional types of statewide models and systems for measuring all students' progress; and (2) alternative assessments, designated by their individualized education program plan teams, for students with disabilities. Gives states an option to include as limited English proficiency students, until they complete secondary school, those formerly in such subgroup who have subsequently acquired English proficiency. Permits use of local assessments in measuring AYP.Increases the levels of ESEA funding which must be reached before states are not allowed certain deferrals of academic assessments. Revises requirements relating to AYP by group and subgroup. Adds options for deeming teachers of multiple academic subjects as highly qualified, and for general social studies certification. Reauthorizes the Reading First and Early Reading First programs through FY2017. Authorizes use of reading activities subgrants for individual or small-group instruction, as well as for class-wide instruction.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 244; Education Begins at Home Act - Cosponsor

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the Secretary of Education, to make: (1) grants to states for programs of early childhood home visitation; and (2) competitive grants to local educational agencies and other eligible applicants for early home visitation for families with English language learners. Directs the Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Secretary of Education, to make competitive grants to eligible applicants for early home visitation for military families. Directs the Secretary of HHS to develop and implement a public information and educational campaign to inform the public and new parents about the importance of proper care for infants and children under five years of age.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 761; America COMPETES Act - Cosponsor

A bill to invest in innovation and education to improve the competitiveness of the United States in the global economy.

Session-106; Bill Number-S 1487; Excellence in Economic Education Act of 1999 - Cosponsor

Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to establish a program for excellence in economic education under title X (Programs of National Significance).

Session-106; Bill Number-S 505; Gifted and Talented Students Education Act of 1999 - Cosponsor

Authorizes the Secretary of Education to make grants to States for use by public schools to develop or expand gifted and talented education programs through one or more of the following activities: (1) professional development programs; (2) technical assistance; (3) direct services and materials for gifted and talented students, through revised curricula, acceleration, independent study, dual enrollment or other strategies; (4) innovative approaches and curricula; and (5) emerging technologies, including distance learning.

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