What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : America's Poor : Reauthorizing the Head Start program (H.R. 1439)/ Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) amendment that would forgive student loans for teachers who agree to commit to the program for three years (2007 house Roll Call 278)
 Who: All Members : New York, District 2 : King, Pete
[POW!]
 
Reauthorizing the Head Start program (H.R. 1439)/ Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) amendment that would forgive student loans for teachers who agree to commit to the program for three years
house Roll Call 278     May 02, 2007
Member's Vote
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or not)
Progressive Position
Progressive Result
(win or loss)

This vote was on an amendment to legislation to reauthorize the Head Start program through fiscal 2012. Proposed by Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) the amendment would authorize the Education Department to implement a program to forgive student loans for Head Start teachers who receive a bachelor's degree in a field related to early childhood education and agree to teach in the Head Start program for at least three years.

The bill to which Sestak was seeking to amend would authorize $7.4 billion in funding for fiscal 2008 and such sums as may be necessary through fiscal 2012 for the early-childhood program. This legislation would only approve the spending, and the actual money would come from a separate appropriations bill.

Sestak billed his amendment as a way to both attract new teachers to Head Start as well as to provide a way for existing Head Start teachers to improve their skills and education. Sestak proposed to forgive loans of up to $10,000.

"Head Start teachers are so critical at the time of a child's cognitive reasoning development, and this amendment recognizes this by ensuring that more than 55,000 Head Start teachers have the means of getting their bachelor's degree by forgiving their student loan burden," Sestak said.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said he supported the intent of the amendment, but asserted that he thought it would be better attached to legislation dealing with higher education, which was scheduled to come up for consideration later in the year.

"We did a study, and we found that most of the education programs don't come under the Department of Education, they come under 39 other bureaucracies throughout this town," McKeon said. "And it would be, I think, moving to try to have things more organized. It fits better under the Higher Ed Act, and I would encourage that the gentleman put it under that."

McKeon encouraged Sestak to withdrawal the amendment and wait to attach it to the higher education bill, which Sestak declined to do.

Regardless, Sestak had more than ample support to pass his amendment. Eighty-seven Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic majority in approving the proposal. Thus, on a vote of 312 to 107, the House adopted an amendment to the Head Start bill creating a loan-forgiveness program for individuals obtaining a degree in early-childhood education who commit to teaching in the program for at least three years.

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Key: Y=Yea, N=Nay, W=Win, L=Loss