Mrs. McCARTHY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by first thanking the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING) for his wisdom and guidance as the chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. It has been a pleasure working with the gentleman from Pennsylvania. I know that I speak for the entire House of Representatives when I wish him all the happiness and health in his retirement. I use that word loosely because we have already had some conversation, so I do not really think he
will be retiring, he will just be starting on a new journey. But he will be missed here in the House.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3222 to express my support for the Literacy Involves Families Together Act. This bill strengthens Even Start in the focus of family literacy in Title I and our Native American Education Programs.
This legislation will also define staff qualifications, which we know is so important for programs using Federal funds to support instructional staff. The bill will require that academic instructors have a post-secondary degree or meet State qualifications. By requiring a higher level of qualifications, we are ensuring the highest returns for our Even Start children and families.
Mr. Speaker, this bill levels the playing field for our neediest families who often need special services to provide basic education to their children. Finally, this bill will strengthen the accountability of Even Start programs by ensuring that program performance is measured by local goals tied to State performance indicators.
While I do support this program, Mr. Speaker, I do have some concerns about two changes that have been made to this bill. Both the amount of money that we are authorizing and the length of time we are authorizing this program have been reduced significantly.
Mr. Speaker, just last year in Nassau County, part of my district, BOCES, which is as an educational school, served over 100 families. Can my colleagues imagine how many more families we could serve with the full reauthorization of this bill? I find in my district alone that more and more families are looking for services like this.
As the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING) has said, if we help educate the parent, certainly the children are only going to do better.
It is my sincere hope that we can work out these issues in conference. Until then, I urge all of my colleagues to support this important legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time. [Page: H7463]
Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. GRAHAM), a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Mr. BALLENGER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3222, the Literacy Involves Families Together Act. However, I would like to first say a couple things about the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING). In all my years in Congress, I sincerely believe that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) is the most knowledgeable person on the issue of education. Before coming to Congress, the gentleman from Pennsylvania was a teacher, a principal, and superintendent. The gentleman
from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) knows education. We in Congress have been fortunate to have him.
It is safe to say that we will miss the leadership of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING), his bipartisan spirit, and his passion for better education of all Americans. I think the respect for his leadership is shown by the number of the committee members that are here tonight at this late hour.
Back in 1988, when we served together on the Committee on Education and the Workforce as minority Members, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) worked tirelessly to enact the Even Start Family Literacy [Page: H7464]
Program. Even Start is based on his experience as an educator and his belief that illiteracy can most successfully be eliminated by working with families.
Even Start works with the adults without a GED and high school diploma and their children to break the cycles of illiteracy. This program has been successful in motivating and providing parents with the skills they need to play an active role in their children's education.
Today we have an opportunity to enhance this act and substantially increase the funding authorization to $250 million for fiscal year 2001. This is a program that works. Not only does it increase literacy and active participation by parents in their children's education, but it provides enhanced opportunities for parents as well.
The bill epitomizes everything that the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING) has represented during his tenure in Congress. It increases charitable choice, strengthens accountability, ensures instruction is based on scientifically based research, it prevents waste, and actively increases parental involvement in education. This is a program that helps everyone who is involved.
I ask my colleagues to support H.R. 3222 and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING) in his efforts on behalf of American families.
Mr. McKEON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of the Literacy Involves Families Together bill. This legislation builds on a strong legacy of support for literacy programs by this Congress and in particular our Committee on Education and the Workforce chairman, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING). We believe that if children learn to read early their chance for success in school is much greater. At the same time, if the entire family is part of the learning process, all members
of the family have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
I have heard it said that the family that prays together stays together, and the family that plays together stays together. I would like to add that the family that reads together progresses together.
With this bill, we will help break the cycle of poverty, unemployment and welfare that is often a result of illiteracy. This legislation accomplishes these goals through strengthened services under the Even Start literacy program. Specifically, H.R. 3222 provides more resources to train Even Start instructors. The need for more training is acute. For example, last year during a hearing on teacher preparation, we heard from a young African American teacher who was given a third grade class and
told to teach them how to read. He had never had any training on teaching how to read.
He was simply told, you know how to read; teach them how to read.
He was frustrated. His students were not learning; and he was ready to quit. It was not until he received some additional training that he was able to really connect with and teach the children in his class and reach his full potential as a teacher.
Passage of this bill will give reading instructors the additional help they need.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to share my gratitude, along with my other colleagues, for the work of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) on this important bill. As the author of several important literacy initiatives, including the Reading Excellence Act, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) recognized long ago the need for quality reading programs for the entire family. I have had the privilege of serving with the gentleman from Pennsylvania
(Mr. GOODLING) on the Committee on Education and the Workforce since coming to Congress in 1993, and I have learned a lot from him on this and other education issues.
This legislation culminates the outstanding work that the chairman has done on literacy and will be a highlight of his legacy when he retires at the end of the 106th Congress. His dedication to the young people of this Nation is extraordinary and should be emulated by all Members of this body. I am sorry to see him go but wish him well in all that he does.
I urge all of my colleagues to support H.R. 3222.
Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, a little over 24 hours ago, as a father, I was reading at home in Waco, Texas, my home, to our 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons. As a father who cares deeply about encouraging my children to learn how to read and to enjoy reading and learning, I appreciate deeply the chairman's leadership in literacy programs before this and previous Congresses, but I rise tonight to express the same reservation mentioned by my colleague from Virginia (Mr. SCOTT).
It seems to me to continue on a great program, and the program, the Even Start program is a great program, it is not necessary to use Federal tax dollars to allow organizations to discriminate against American citizens based simply on their own religious faith. It is not necessary to not only allow but to actually subsidize with Federal tax dollars religious discrimination in order to give children an even start in life.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask, perhaps with the agreement of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING), if I could ask the chairman perhaps a question. With the chairman's indulgence, if I could just clarify a point by asking him a question, if I could, on page 20 of the bill it talks about treatment of program participants. In fact, if we go back to page 17 it talks about, under section 1213, religious organizations included and partnership participants.
Could I ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING), so we can be clear on the definition, when the term religious organizations is mentioned in this language does the chairman intend that that includes directly churches, synagogues and houses of worship or separate entities, perhaps secular separate entities set up by those churches, synagogues and houses of worship?
Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds just to indicate that, of course, as I have indicated on Ms. JOHNSON's bill, these organizations who should really be participating when one is dealing with families and are trying to improve family life, would not participate, of course, if they have to give up their Title VII protection. The President, the Vice President, have both indicated very clearly, the President said common sense says that faith and faith-based organizations
from all religious backgrounds can play an important role in helping children to reach their fullest potential. I agree with that, and I believe that we have protected everybody in this legislation.
Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to extend the time by 10 minutes, to be divided and controlled between the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. MCCARTHY) and myself.
Mr. CASTLE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3222, the Literacy Involves Families Together Act, legislation to ensure that every child and every adult has literacy skills they need to succeed. I also want to take a moment to commend the bill's sponsor, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING).
As some of us may know, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) was the driving force behind the National Literacy Act and he changed the way children learn to read with the enactment of the Reading Excellence Act.
Mr. Speaker, once again the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) is leading the charge to create a more literate society with the reauthorization of the Even Start Family Illiteracy Program, a bill he helped offer nearly 12 years ago.
Like the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING), I believe that the literacy skills of America's adults are simply not adequate to encourage individual opportunity, increase worker productivity, or strengthen our country's competitiveness around the world.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, approximately 21 percent of the adult population, more than 40 million Americans over the age of 16, has only rudimentary reading and writing skills. An additional 8 million adults were unable to perform the most basic literacy test and a smaller percentage had such limited skills that they were unable to even respond to the survey.
Sadly, studies show that illiteracy is an intergenerational problem, one that follows a parent-child pattern. Students who have not been exposed to reading before they enter school are at a significant disadvantage when compared with students whose parents read to them. In addition, students with illiterate parents are more likely to perform poorly in school, and they are more likely to drop out before graduation.
The bill before us today, the Literacy Involves Family Together Act seeks to remedy these problems by improving the quality of services provided under the Even Start Family Literacy Program.
Specifically, LIFT would require Even Start programs to base reading instruction on scientifically based research. As part of the National Reading Panel, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development has conducted extensive research on the best way to teach children to read, and I believe it is of utmost importance for our literacy centers to make use of this data.
LIFT would also fund a research project to find the most effective way to improve literacy among parents and reading difficulties and to help parents use their new skills to support their children's redevelopment.
Finally, the LIFT act raises the quality of family literacy programs to allow States to use a portion of their Even Start dollars to provide expert training and technical assistance to Even Start providers and family literacy instructors.
We live in a Nation where both the volume and variety of written information are growing and where increasing numbers of citizens are expected to be able to read, understand, and use these materials.
Mr. Speaker, I commend the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING) for his leadership and wish him a long and enjoyable retirement.
Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) for yielding the time to me, and I associate myself with all the positive remarks that have been made about his service.
I would observe that in most cases in the twilight of a politician's career, they search desperately for a legacy that is a testimony to that which they have done. Some find it in an edifice or a building, some find it in a last minute grant.
But today we memorialize a legacy that walks all over America and is a tribute to the gentleman from Pennsylvania. It is young adults and children since 1988 who have learned together the fundamental key to success in life, which is the ability to read. This program supplies materials, sound fundamentals, and breaks the cycle and the stigma that is the biggest problem in adult literacy.
We have learned in education that an adult who otherwise would be stigmatized and not go to learn will relish the opportunity to learn with their child. That is the legacy of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) and today's increase in that legacy is a testimony to what he has done.
There are schools all over this country, but there is one in my State called Pitts Elementary, Mr. Chairman, 100 percent poverty, 100 percent free and reduced lunch in the middle of a public housing project. Because of Even Start and the materials, the techniques and using the resources of a community, in Pitts Elementary children without hope and hopeless parents learn to read.
The generational cycle of literacy can only be broken when the child and the parent learn together, thanks to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING).
Mrs. McCARTHY on New York. Mr. Speaker, I have no additional speakers, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. EHLERS), a very important member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Mr. EHLERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING) for yielding time to me.
Mr. Speaker, in the Congress all of us depend on each other in dealing with a multitude of issues that are before us. But without doubt, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING) has been Mr. Education to this Congress for many years. All of us have upon one occasion or another gone to him for advice on how to deal with issues regarding education. And I appreciate his efforts here.
In regard to the bill, there are several points I wanted to mention that I think are outstanding. First of all, accountability. We have passed many, many different pieces of legislation dealing with education. Most of them have had very little accountability, most of them have not accomplished anything near what their potential was, and building accountability into this bill I think is essential.
The gentleman's step toward helping parents and children learn together is a stroke of genius, something we need very badly. But, again, it has to be accountable to make sure that it happens; but it can be a wonderful experience for both parents and child. The emphasis on research standards is important. Much of the research done in education today is superb; much of it, unfortunately, is not very good.
Particularly in the difficulties of reading, the study of dyslexia, there is a great deal of work that needs to be done. Many people, including one of my dear grandsons, suffer from that disease, and it is incredibly difficult.
The final point I would make is that science also can be important in teaching reading, and I have introduced a bill that the committee will shortly consider on that.
Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of those who, of course, paid tribute to me, but I must say that we have had a wonderful working relationship in areas of education on both sides of the aisle, and could have accomplished very little even as chairman of the committee without that kind of cooperation. The gentlewoman from New York has been a joy to work with.
My friend from Michigan and I have been battling for, he said 24 years. I have been battling for 26, and he has been battling with me for 24. Not battling for ourselves, as none of the committee has been doing that, but what we are trying to do is make sure that every child in this country has an equal opportunity to get a piece of the American dream.
As I indicated when we started, there is no way that can happen if they and their parents are illiterate, or even functionally illiterate in this 21st century. There was a time a parent could get a job, rear a family, and, of course, not let anyone know that he or she could not read, but that time has gone, and is gone forever.
I would hope as we continue, as I have told the committee many times, and as someone mentioned from the other side, I hope my portrait in the room, the lips will move every time they are deliberating, and the lips will say, We want to make sure that we have results, not process; we want to make sure that it is quality, not quantity, because that is the only way, in my estimation, we can be successful in preventing the fall of this great Nation, which I truly believe will happen if we cannot successfully
deal with the literacy issue.
I want to thank the staffs. I have told the staffs over and over again what I will miss most of all when I leave this institution are the wonderful staffers that I have worked with for a long, long time.
Sitting next to me, I want to truly pay tribute to Lynn Selmser. She has had to put up with me for 19 years. I do not know of anybody that has probably put up with a Member of Congress for 19 years and survived. But when there were literacy issues, she was there; if there were nutrition issues, she was there; if there were Impact Aid issues, she was there helping.
So it has been a wonderful experience in the Congress of the United States. I am not going to say that I am going to miss the rigors of the job. I am surely not missing the campaign that all of you are involved in. In fact, I sit back and smile and say, go to it; I do not have to do that any longer.
But I will miss our efforts that we jointly embarked upon to try to make sure that we do have a literate workforce, that our workforce can perform, that we do not have to rely on other countries to supply our people to do the $40,000, $50,000 and $60,000 jobs.
We have lost a lot of time, because our whole effort from the very beginning was to try to make sure that we close that achievement gap, and we must close it, and I would hope that this legislation will go a long way to do that.
I just hope that, as I leave, I watch the committee still making sure that every parent and every child becomes literate, so that no child goes to the first grade without the ability to learn and without the ability to read, because they will fail, and that will be one more tragedy.
So, again I thank all the members of the committee, and thank all of the staff for the wonderful work that they have done over the years.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mrs. McCARTHY of New York. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to close again saying there are many of us that support this amendment. I will also say that I have only been on the committee chaired by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Chairman GOODLING) for 4 years.
Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for him, for the work he has done, and I know he has always put the children first. I support what he is trying to do with this amendment. The gentleman and I agree 100 percent that if our children and parents cannot read, then we cannot lift up everyone.
Again, it has been a pleasure working with the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GOODLING). I am sure when I first got there he had no idea what kind of person I was going to be, but he found out I was actually the strong, quiet type, and only spoke when I found it was extremely important. He appreciated that, because I saved him time. We will miss you, Chairman GOODLING, and it has been a pleasure being with you and learning from you over these 4 years.