Randy Forbes on Education

Republican Representative (VA-4)


Supports school construction & stricter school discipline

Source: Candidate web site RandyForbes.com , Jun 18, 2001

Voted YES on reauthorizing the DC opportunity scholarship program.

Congressional Summary:The SOAR Act award five-year grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations to carry out an expanded school choice opportunities to students who are District of Columbia residents and who come from households:
  1. receiving assistance under the supplemental nutrition assistance program; or
  2. with incomes not exceeding 185% of the poverty line.
Provides funds to the Mayor of DC, if the Mayor agrees to specified requirements, for:
  1. the DC public schools to improve public education, and
  2. the DC public charter schools to improve and expand quality public charter schools.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Bishop, R-UT]: In 1996, Congress insisted upon a charter school program in DC. You will hear from both sides of the aisle recognition of the great value that that program has, and justifiably so. There is a waiting list in DC for those charter schools. This bill increases the percentage of funding going to charter schools in the District. In 2003, an Opportunity Scholarship was instituted, at the insistence of Congress. Again, there was a waiting list of people wanting the opportunity; disadvantaged kids who wanted the opportunity that this scholarship afforded them. There were 216 kids at the time scheduled to enter the program who were not allowed; the bill remedies that.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Hastings, D-FL]: In the last 41 years voters have rejected private school vouchers every time they have been proposed. In 1981, 89% of the people in a referendum in DC voted against vouchers. So how dare we come here to tell these people that we are going to thrust upon them something they don't want without a single public official in this community being consulted. Congress' oversight of the District is not an excuse for political pandering to the Republicans' special interest of the day du jour.

Reference: Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR); Bill HRes186 ; vote number 11-HV200 on Mar 30, 2011

Voted NO on $40B for green public schools.

Congressional Summary:Make grants to states for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public schools, including early learning facilities and charter schools, to make them safe, healthy, high-performing, and technologically up-to-date.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. BETSY MARKEY (D, CO-4): This legislation will improve the learning environment for our children, reduce energy costs and create new jobs across the country. Green schools not only save school districts money but also teach the importance of sustainable living to children at a young age.

Opponent's argument to vote No: Rep. GLENN THOMPSON (R, PA-5): We all know our Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. The bill we're debating today would add an estimated $40 billion in new spending. And despite the majority's hollow promises of fiscal responsibility, there's nothing in the legislation to offset this hefty price tag with spending reductions elsewhere. This is just more of the same borrow and spend, spend and borrow policy that we've seen under this majority and this administration.

Reference: 21st Century Green Schools Act; Bill H.R.2187 ; vote number 2009-H259 on May 14, 2009

Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Veto override on the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and Labor. Original bill passed & was then vetoed by the President.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority & duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 3043 ; vote number 2007-1122 on Nov 15, 2007

Voted NO on allowing Courts to decide on "God" in Pledge of Allegiance.

Amendment to preserve the authority of the US Supreme Court to decide any question pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill underlying this amendment would disallow any federal courts from hearing cases concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. This amendment would make an exception for the Supreme Court.

Proponents support voting YES because:

I believe that our Pledge of Allegiance with its use of the phrase "under God" is entirely consistent with our Nation's cultural and historic traditions. I also believe that the Court holding that use of this phrase is unconstitutional is wrong. But this court-stripping bill is not necessary. This legislation would bar a Federal court, including the Supreme Court, from reviewing any claim that challenges the recitation of the Pledge on first amendment grounds.

If we are a Nation of laws, we must be committed to allowing courts to decide what the law is. This bill is unnecessary and probably unconstitutional. It would contradict the principle of Marbury v. Madison, intrude on the principles of separation of powers, and degrade our independent Federal judiciary.

Opponents support voting NO because:

I was disappointed 4 years ago when two judges of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that our Pledge, our statement of shared national values, was somehow unconstitutional. I do not take legislation that removes an issue from the jurisdiction of this court system lightly. This legislation is appropriate, however, because of the egregious conduct of the courts in dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance.

By striking "under God" from the Pledge, the Court has shown contempt for the Congress which approved the language, and, more importantly, shows a complete disregard for the millions of Americans who proudly recite the Pledge as a statement of our shared national values and aspirations. No one is required to recite the Pledge if they disagree with its message.

Reference: Watt amendment to Pledge Protection Act; Bill H R 2389 ; vote number 2006-384 on Jul 19, 2006

Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.

This vote is on a substitute bill (which means an amendment which replaces the entire text of the original bill). Voting YES means support for the key differences from the original bill: lowering student loan interest rates; $59 million for a new Predominantly Black Serving Institution program; $25 million for a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program; provide for year- round Pell grants; and repeal the Single Lender rule. The substitute's proponents say:
  • The original bill has some critical shortcomings. First and foremost, this substitute will cut the new Pell Grant fixed interest rate in half from 6.8% to 3.4%, to reduce college costs to those students most in need.
  • It would also establish a new predominantly black-serving institutions programs to boost college participation rates for low-income black students, and a new graduate Hispanic-serving institution program.
  • As we saw from 1995 to 2000, the questions employers were asking was not your race, not your ethnicity, not your religion, they wanted to know if you had the skills and talents to do the job. Most often today, those skills and that talent requires a higher education. A college education is going to have to become as common as a high school education.
    Reference: Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act; Bill HR 609 Amendment 772 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 30, 2006

    Voted YES on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror.

    Children's Prayers Resolution: Expressing the sense of Congress that schools should allow children time to pray for, or silently reflect upon, the country during the war against terrorism.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Isakson, R-GA; Bill H.Con.Res.239 ; vote number 2001-445 on Nov 15, 2001

    Rated 17% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes.

    Forbes scores 17% by the NEA on public education issues

    The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

    To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
    In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
    Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

    $110M per year to teach abstinence in public schools.

    Forbes co-sponsored Abstinence Education Reallocation Act

    Congressional Summary:Authorizes the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to award grants for qualified sexual risk avoidance education to youth and their parents. Requires such education to meet certain criteria, including:

    1. being age-appropriate, medically accurate, and evidence-based;
    2. teaching the skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth; and
    3. teaching the benefits of refraining from nonmarital sexual activity, the advantage of reserving sexual activity for marriage, and the foundational components of a healthy relationship.
    Gives priority to programs that serve youth ages 12 to 19 and that will promote the protective benefits of parent-child communication regarding healthy sexual decisionmaking.

    Opponent's argument against bill: (Nick Wing on Huffington Post) How much could it cost to keep teenagers from having sex? More than $100 million per year over the course of five years would be a good starting place, according to the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act. The bill seeks to award $550 million in Affordable Care Act grants over five years to programs that provide teenagers with abstinence-only education.

    The abstinence-only effort stands as an effective counter to the Democratic-backed Real Education for Healthy Youth Act. Introduced the same day as the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, the bill seeks to "expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools and ensure that federal funds are spent on effective, age-appropriate, medically accurate programs." The legislation would also set down guidelines calling for sexual health programs that receive federal funding to feature LGBT-inclusive language on a variety of issues, reject gender stereotypes and provide accurate information about HIV.

    Source: S.13 / H.R.718 13-H0718 on Feb 15, 2013

    Sponsored supporting the contributions of Catholic schools.

    Forbes co-sponsored House Resolution on parochial schools

      Now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Ho
      Source: H.RES.46 13-HRes46 on Jan 23, 2013

      Denounce the Common Core State Standards.

      Forbes co-sponsored Resolution against Common Core

      Congressional summary:: Strongly denouncing the President's coercion of States into adopting the Common Core State Standards by conferring preferences in Federal grants:

        Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that--
      1. States and local educational agencies should maintain the right and responsibility of determining educational curricula;
      2. the Federal Government should not incentivize the adoption of common education standards; and
      3. no application process for any Federal grant funds should provide any preference for the adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

        Opponent's argument against (CoreStandards.org): The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. 45 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards [not adopted in TX, NE, AK, MN, and VA]. The nation's governors and education commissioners, through their representative organizations the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the development of the Common Core State Standards and continue to lead the initiative. Teachers, parents, school administrators and experts from across the country together with state leaders provided input into the development of the standards.

        Source: HRes.476 & SRes.345 14-HR0476 on Feb 11, 2014

        2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Education: Randy Forbes on other issues:
        VA Gubernatorial:
        Bob McDonnell
        Ken Cuccinelli
        Robert Sarvis
        Terry McAuliffe
        Tim Kaine
        VA Senatorial:
        Ed Gillespie
        James Webb
        Mark Warner
        Robert Sarvis
        Tim Kaine

        Newly-elected Democrats taking office Jan.2015:
        AZ-7: Rep.-Elect Ruben Gallego
        CA-11:Rep.-Elect Mark DeSaulnier
        CA-31:Rep.-Elect Pete Aguilar(R⇒D)
        CA-33:Rep.-Elect Ted Lieu
        CA-35:Rep.-Elect Norma Torres
        FL-2: Rep.-Elect Gwen Graham(R⇒D)
        HI-1: Rep.-Elect Mark Takai
        MA-6: Rep.-Elect Seth Moulton
        MI-12:Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell
        MI-14:Rep.-Elect Brenda Lawrence
        NE-2: Rep.-Elect Brad Ashford(R⇒D)
        NJ-12:Rep.-Elect Bonnie Coleman
        NY-4: Rep.-Elect Kathleen Rice
        PA-13:Rep.-Elect Brendan Boyle
        VA-8: Rep.-Elect Donald Beyer
        Seated in special elections 2013-2014:
        AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
        FL-13:David Jolly(R)
        FL-19:Curt Clawson(R)
        IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
        LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
        MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
        MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
        NC-12:Alma Adams(D)
        NJ-1: Donald Norcross(D)
        SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
        VA-7: Dave Brat(R)

        Newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
        AR-2: Rep.-Elect French Hill
        AR-4: Rep.-Elect Bruce Westerman
        AL-6: Rep.-Elect Gary Palmer
        CA-25:Rep.-Elect Steve Knight
        CA-45:Rep.-Elect Mimi Walters
        CO-4: Rep.-Elect Ken Buck
        FL-26:Rep.-Elect Carlos Curbelo(D⇒R)
        GA-1: Rep.-Elect Buddy Carter
        GA-10:Rep.-Elect Jody Hice
        GA-11:Rep.-Elect Barry Loudermilk
        GA-12:Rep.-Elect Rick Allen(D⇒R)
        IA-1: Rep.-Elect Rod Blum(D⇒R)
        IA-3: Rep.-Elect David Young
        IL-10:Rep.-Elect Robert Dold(D⇒R)
        IL-12:Rep.-Elect Mike Bost(D⇒R)
        More newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
        LA-5: Rep.-Elect Ralph Abraham
        LA-6: Rep.-Elect Garret Graves
        ME-2: Rep.-Elect Bruce Poliquin(D⇒R)
        MI-4: Rep.-Elect John Moolenaar
        MI-8: Rep.-Elect Mike Bishop
        MI-11:Rep.-Elect Dave Trott
        MN-6: Rep.-Elect Tom Emmer
        MT-0: Rep.-Elect Ryan Zinke
        NC-6: Rep.-Elect Mark Walker
        NC-7: Rep.-Elect David Rouzer(D⇒R)
        NH-1: Rep.-Elect Frank Guinta(D⇒R)
        NJ-3: Rep.-Elect Tom MacArthur
        NV-4: Rep.-Elect Cresent Hardy(D⇒R)
        NY-1: Rep.-Elect Lee Zeldin(D⇒R)
        NY-21:Rep.-Elect Elise Stefanik(D⇒R)
        NY-24:Rep.-Elect John Katko
        OK-5: Rep.-Elect Steve Russell
        PA-6: Rep.-Elect Ryan Costello
        TX-4: Rep.-Elect John Ratcliffe
        TX-23:Rep.-Elect Will Hurd
        TX-36:Rep.-Elect Brian Babin
        UT-4: Rep.-Elect Mia Love(D⇒R)
        VA-10:Rep.-Elect Barbara Comstock
        WA-4: Rep.-Elect Dan Newhouse
        WI-6: Rep.-Elect Glenn Grothman
        WV-2: Rep.-Elect Alex Mooney
        WV-3: Rep.-Elect Evan Jenkins(D⇒R)
        Civil Rights