Rep Scanlon Hosts Speaker Pelosi – Education Help for Minorities

Panel discussion held at Delco community college May 24

Panel discussion held at Delco community college May 24

In response to an invitation from Congresswomen Mary Gay Scanlon and Madeleine Dean, respectively representing our 5th and 4th Congressional Districts, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi participated in an amazingly comprehensive panel discussion on education access and fair funding,  college affordability and student loan relief at Delaware County Community College in Media on May 24.

Over 500 local residents and politicians, DCCC faculty and students and visiting media packed the main amphitheater and a satellite lecture hall to hear the national legislative leader discuss key educational issues.  “I was really impressed at how the three women had the facts and policies at their fingertips and were able to articulate the issues so clearly,” said an elderly resident of a nearby senior center.

Center stage for all three was support of the Democratic-sponsored “Aim Higher” and “Prosper” now pending in Congress.  “Aim Higher” make it easier for low-income students to qualifyand apply for Pell Grants for them only once while in college.  Both pieces of legislation would provide incentives for states to make it easier for low-income students to get the education they need for productive, well-paid jobs.  They would also prevent student loan debt from being a barrier for young people to pursue a normal life – marriage, children and a home.

Concerning the crushing burden of student loans, Speaker Pelosi felt it was unconscionable for lenders to charge students 6 or more percent when car loans are running half of that.  

Responding to written questions submitted by the audience, Speaker Pelosi said that funding of education at all levels in our country is an investment, not just another government expense.  “Nothing brings more money to the treasury than investing in [public] education,” she maintained “It’s about people reaching their self-fulfillment and being able to economically lift their lives.”

Contrary to the expectations of some attendees, there was little or no reference to the current bitter conflict between the forceful Pelosi – who stands third in line for the presidency if Messrs. Trump and Pence could not serve.  The only mention of either Pres. Trump and his education secretary Besty DeVos was in connection with the problems with for-profit colleges like Trump University. Just the mention of DeVos’ name brought a torrent of jeers from the crowd.  

Mrs. Pelosi stressed the critical need to widen opportunities for job-related education and training in our rapidly changing economy.  Nothing is more important to the United States remaining competitive in the world market than having citizens ready and available to fill the 21st-century jobs.  “This is especially true where veterans are involved,” she stressed. “We need a ‘GI Bill” for the 21st Century to prepare our veterans for the present and future job market.”

In a tribute to the breadth of the education issue, Rep. Scanlon mentioned the importance of overcoming food insecurity in our inner-city neighborhoods, which has a negative impact on the learning environment in our schools.

In the back of everyone’s mind was the fact that both Reps Scanlon and Dean are on the House Judiciary Committee which is undertaking the inquiry into the Muller Report.   “No one is above the law” and “the American people deserve to know the truth and to have the opportunity to judge the gravity of the evidence and charges leveled against the president,” Rep. Scanlon has been quoted as saying.

The feelings of many in the room were captured by one woman, the mother of five children.  “It shows that Democrats . . . came to get work done. While they are dealing with the issue of impeachment and the Mueller report, they are also working on legislation that will change our lives.”

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