Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

 

Page 7

 

IN MY OPINION (Column)

Back to School, Planning for College

 

By DAVID DREIER

 

After a nice long summer break, itís back to school time. Parents and kids across the Foothills are getting used to the rigors of homework and pop quizzes again. Science and math are two subjects that especially challenge many of todayís students, but they will also provide our next generation with the tools to succeed in our competitive, ever-changing job market.

Earlier this year, I co-authored an amendment to H.R. 609, the College Access and Opportunity Act, which specifically addresses the need for quality math and science teachers and curricula.

This amendment calls for a study documenting educational trends in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields so that we can better understand studentsí needs. It also expands existing education grant programs to include projects that increase the number of teachers in advanced placement (AP) math, science, and critical foreign language courses.

These grants will focus on increasing AP teachers for low-income students, as well as encouraging students to pursue critical foreign languages beginning in elementary school. Providing top-tier teachers and early encouragement will help inspire students of all ages to pursue math, science, and language opportunities in college.

The College Access and Opportunity Act will also make college more accessible and affordable for students wishing to pursue brighter futures. It establishes year-round Pell Grant aid for students and loan relief opportunities of up to $5,000 for professionals who serve as early childhood educators, nurses, and first responders in low income communities. Additionally, the bill provides third and fourth year students majoring in math, science, and key foreign languages with an additional $4,000 per year in student aid.

As many new graduates know, a good college education is vital in todayís competitive job market. To help high school students and their families prepare for the big college decision, my office will be co-hosting The Foothill Cities College Fair and Financial Aid Seminar on Tuesday, September 26, 2006.

The Seminar will be held at the Duarte High School Library, 1565 East Central in Duarte from 5:15-7:00 p.m. Co-sponsored by Sallie Mae, the nationís leading provider for education funding, the seminar will provide students and their families with information on differing federal loan programs, how to apply for financial aid, and how to borrow responsibly to pay for college. The seminar will also feature representatives from area universities who will be on hand to provide free financial aid programs and answer specific questions. Seating at the seminar is limited so individuals interested in attending should visit www.salliemae.com/seminars to RSVP.

Please feel free to contact my Glendora office, 626-852-2626 or 866-373-6321, with questions on the College Fair or anything else. Choosing and paying for college can be a daunting challenge, but it is one that will pay off in dividends in the future.

 

(The writer is a Republican, who represents the 26th district, serving Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.)

 

Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company