Harry Reid on Education

Last Updated : Jun 19, 2010

Summary

Senator Reid originally voted for No Child Left Behind, but now states that the program is underfunded, it's testing policies are too rigid, and it incorrectly labels good schools as failing.  He has advocated for a complete overhaul of the program.  

While in the Senate, Harry Reid has voted in favor of an amendment to remove money for tutors for children in favor of increased funding for teachers.  He has voted against charter schools, against vouchers, and against allowing people to save for and pay for private schools with tax exempt savings accounts.

 

Introduction of Student Achievement Bill

In May of 2009, Senator Reid introduced the Secondary School Innovation Fund, a bill designed to improve No Child Left Behind by developing innovative approaches to improving student achievement in Nevada's middle and high schools.

 

Campaign Website video

On his campaign website, Senator Reid displays the following video where he touts the $400 million sent to Nevada schools in the stimulus act.

 

Campaign Website : Accomplishements

On his official campaign website, Senator Reid list the following accomplishments for education.

 

Official Campaign Website

 

 2010 Re-Election Campaign Website

 

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. Harry Reid voted in favor of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

Harry Reid 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. Harry Reid voted in favor of the amendment and supported developing standards over private tutors.

Harry Reid voted in favor of the amendment and supported developing standards over private tutors.

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. Harry Reid voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Harry Reid 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. Harry Reid voted against the voucher program.

Harry Reid 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. Harry Reid voted in favor of the amendment and supported hiring teachers over tutors.

Harry Reid voted in favor of the amendment and supported hiring teachers over tutors.

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. Harry Reid voted against the Affordable Education Act of 2000.

Harry Reid voted against 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. Harry Reid voted against the amendment and opposed school choice.

Harry Reid voted against the amendment and opposed 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. Harry Reid voted against the Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Harry Reid voted against 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. Harry Reid voted against the Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Harry Reid voted against 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. Harry Reid voted against the DC voucher system.

Harry Reid voted against the DC voucher system.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-110; Bill Number-S 761; America COMPETES Act - Prime Sponsor

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

Session-109; Bill Number-S 1367; Teach for America Grant - Cosponsor

Authorizes the Secretary of Education to award a grant to Teach For America, Inc. to implement and expand its program of recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting new teachers.

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