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Jeff Merkley on Education

Democratic Jr Senator (OR)


History making efforts that improved education in Oregon

While these efforts have certainly improved education in Oregon, without sufficient support at the federal level, these improvements cannot be sustained. As Senator, Jeff will work to ensure that all children in the US receive the education they need to have a successful future.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Completely overhaul No Child Left Behind

A school’s improvement should be measured not only by test scores, but also by students’ improvement over time, attendance, graduation rates and other standards that states themselves determine. Schools should not have to choose between music and math: all children need a well-rounded curriculum, instead of being taught for a test. Instead of penalizing schools, teachers and students who need the most help, the US should provide needed resources to schools with hard to teach students and reward schools, teachers and students who show measurable improvement. Congress must restore efforts to reduce class sizes. Jeff will lead this fight to make sure that students actually have the time to get the help they need from teachers. States need the flexibility to adopt practices appropriate to each school district. Teachers need the salary, support and resources they deserve, especially in their first three years in the classroom and in hard-to-staff schools.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Fully fund public schools

Bush proposed making drastic cuts to the Department of Education, which would have made Oregon one of 44 states to receive less funding next year. Jeff will fight to ensure that these sorts of cuts never happen and that schools have the funding they need to educate our children. The expiration of the federal timber payments plan has hit Oregon’s schools hard. Jeff will work to fully restore the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act to improve education.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Head Start Programs must be fully funded

Every child eligible for Head Start should have the opportunity to enroll. Participation in Head Start remains one of the most effective ways to improve the educational performance of children in the US.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Increase the size and number of Pell Grants available

Provide opportunities for high school students: a college education must be affordable. The size and number of Pell Grants available to students must be increased. Public college tuition has increased 35 percent over the past four years, but student aid has not kept pace. Workers who possess a college or vocational degree earn approximately 75 percent more than those without a higher education degree.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Create a broad-based college tuition tax break

A broad-based college tuition tax break should be created for all Americans by providing a deduction of up to $10,000 for college tuition, or a credit of up to $3,000. Government should be doing more--not less--to relieve the growing financial burden of college and relieve the anxiety of parents who worry that they won’t be able to afford their children’s college education.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Let parents get involved in their child’s education

Create opportunities for parents to be as involved in their child’s education as they are able. Studies show that parental involvement plays a key role in a child’s school achievement. When parents are forced to work two and three jobs just to make ends meet, that leaves little time to focus on their kids’ education. Building a secure middle class is a key to a good education for our children.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Fully fund Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Provide all Americans with a good education: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be fully funded. Congress promised to provide 40 percent of the average per pupil expenditure for each child in special education. However, the federal government has never allocated more than 17 percent to states to carry out the law. In addition, Bush’s proposed FY2008 budget would have cut $800 million in special education programs. Jeff Merkley will work for full funding.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

$25B to renovate or repair elementary schools.

Merkley signed Fix America's Schools Today Act (FAST)

Source: HR2948&S1597 11-S1597 on Sep 21, 2011

Sponsored extending subsidized federal student loan rates until 2015.

Merkley co-sponsored Student Loan Affordability Act

Congressional Summary:Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the 3.4% interest rate on Federal Direct Stafford loans to loans first disbursed to undergraduate students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2015. Replaces the [termination date of] 2013 with 2015.

Proponent's argument for bill:(US PIRG press release): The Student Loan Affordability Act keeps interest rates affordable for students over the next two years. If Congress fails to act by July 1, interest rates on federal Subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. That would hike the cost of college by $1,000 per student, per loan, for over 7 million students across the country. The bill pays for extending the current interest rates through 2015 by closing three non-education tax loopholes.

Opponent's argument against bill:(Rep. Tom Cotton, R-AR): Unfortunately, too many students today struggle for years to repay their loans because Washington politicians dictate student-loan rates and end up hurting students and taxpayers alike. It's causing tuition costs to skyrocket, leaving students buried in debt, often without jobs, and forced to delay buying a home and starting a family. As students struggle to repay their loans--regardless of the interest rate--taxpayers are on the hook for a $100 billion bailout--a burden hard-working Arkansans shouldn't have to bear. A better path is to let Arkansas's hometown banks work with students and families to finance higher education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses, and other loans. I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business.

Source: S.707 / H.R.1433 13-S707 on Apr 11, 2013

Other candidates on Education: Jeff Merkley on other issues:
OR Gubernatorial:
John Kitzhaber
OR Senatorial:
Jason Conger
Ron Wyden

OR politicians
OR Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Vacancies 2013:
HI:Inouye(D,Deceased)
HI:Schatz(D,Appointed)
MA:Kerry(D,Resigned)
MA:Cowan(D,Appointed)
MA:Markey(D,elected)
MA:Gomez(R,lost special election)
NJ:Lautenberg(D,Deceased)
NJ:Chiesa(R,Appointed)
NJ:Booker(D,running)
NJ:Lonegan(R,running)
SC:DeMint(R,Resigned)
SC:Scott(R,Appointed)

Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK:Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AL:Sessions(R) vs.Bright(D)
AR:Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
CO:Udall(D) vs.Buck(R) vs.Hill(R) vs.Baumgardner(R) vs.Stephens(R)
DE:Coons(D) vs.O`Donnell(R)
GA:Gingrey(R) vs.Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Handel(R) vs.Broun(R) vs.Kingston(R)
HI:Schatz(D) vs.Hanabusa(D) vs.Cavasso(R)
IA:Braley(D) vs.Whitaker(R) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Clovis(R)
ID:Risch(R) vs.LaRocco(D)
IL:Durbin(D) vs.Truax(R) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L)
KS:Roberts(R) vs.Tiahrt(R)
KY:McConnell(R) vs.Bevin(R) vs.Grimes(D)
LA:Landrieu(D) vs.Cassidy(R) vs.Maness(R)
ME:Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MI:Land(R) vs.Peters(D) vs.Wiedenhoeft(R)
MN:Franken(D) vs.Abeler(R)
MS:Cochran(R) vs.McDaniel(R) vs.Childers(D)
MT:Edmunds(R) vs.Daines(R) vs.Bohlinger(D) vs.Walsh(D)
NC:Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R)
NE:Sasse(R) vs.Osborn(R) vs.Stenberg(R)
NH:Shaheen(D) vs.Martin(R) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R)
NM:Udall(D) vs.Sanchez(R)
OK:Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR:Merkley(D) vs.Conger(R)
RI:Reed(D) vs.Carcieri(R)
SC-2:Scott(R) vs.Wade(D)
SC-6:Graham(R) vs.Stamper(D) vs.Mace(R) vs.Bright(R)
SD:Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I)
TN:Alexander(R) vs.Carr(R)
TX:Cornyn(R) vs.Stockman(R) vs.Roland(L)
VA:Warner(D) vs.McDonnell(R) vs.Radtke(R)
WV:Capito(R) vs.Raese(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.McGeehan(R)
WY:Enzi(R) vs.Cheney(R)
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Page last updated: Dec 22, 2013