KENNEDY AND ENZI MOVE FORWARD ON PLAN TO EDUCATE CHILDREN DISPLACED FROM KATRINA DISCUSS BILL IN SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Washington, DC; Today Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Senator Mike Enzi participated in a subcommittee hearing entitled “Katrina’s Displaced School Children” to discuss the education bill they introduced last week. Their bipartisan measure will bring much needed support and relief to students, educators, and schools affected by the disaster. Kennedy and Enzi will introduce the health and labor components of their Katrina Relief package in the coming days, having already passed two provisions on job training and community service assistance.
“We’re reminded by this disaster that schools are the heart of local communities across America. When schools open, families return, businesses returns, and lives begin to return to normal,” Senator Kennedy said. “We are determined to ensure that children don’t lose a year of school, college students continue pursuing their degrees, schools are rebuilt and restocked with resources they need, and everyone gets the support they need to cope with and overcome this tragedy.”
In the past few weeks Senator Kennedy has visited New Orleans, spent time with evacuees at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts and met with recovery experts and officials from the area to determine the best course of action to help get schools back on their feet and accommodate displaced students. At a recent HELP Committee hearing he convened Kennedy heard moving testimony from Superintendent Diane Roussel of Jefferson Parish who said: “Money isn’t always the answer to solving the ills in our public schools, but when we’re talking about equipment, supplies, rebuilding, and maintaining our teaching workforce, money is the answer.”
Kennedy also learned that 700 schools and 30 colleges and universities have been damaged and destroyed and an estimated 473,000 elementary, high school and college students have been affected by the disaster, most of whom have been displaced. Over 1000 students from the Gulf Coast have now enrolled in colleges in Massachusetts. Kennedy’s bill begins the process by strengthening support for educational institutions and addresses the needs of early education, elementary and secondary education, higher education, and students with disabilities. The provisions of the bill are outlined below and included is Senator Kennedy’s opening remarks.