Bingaman working to improve education by expanding school day, encouraging parental, community involvement

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today joined in introducing two bills aimed at improving the quality of public education in New Mexico and across the country.

Bingaman today cosponsored the Time for Innovation Matters in Education (TIME) Act, which promotes partnerships between schools and community-based organizations to carry out expanded learning models and encourage broad learning opportunities. It would provide funds to lengthen the school day or year so that students receive adequate time in the classroom to master core academic subjects as well as subjects such as music and physical education. The TIME Act authorizes $350 million in 2010 and similar levels of funding in future years.

“Students in other parts of the world receive up to 30 percent more time in the classroom to learn challenging academic subjects and access a broad and rich curriculum. By helping schools increase the length of the school day or year and partner with community-based organizations to develop creative approaches to education services, this bill would allow American students to remain competitive globally and prepare for the jobs of the future,” said Bingaman.

Bingaman today also cosponsored the Keeping Parents and Communities Engaged (Keeping PACE) Act, which supports strong partnerships between schools, families, and communities. The bill authorizes $130 million annually for Title I schools to hire parent and community outreach coordinators to help families become more involved in their child’s education. It also authorizes $78 million to fund community-based organizations that deliver, in partnership with schools, integrated student supports such as health and counseling services, dropout prevention, and tutoring. Finally, the bill authorizes $52 million in incentive grants to encourage the innovative use of schools to deliver, expand, and coordinate services for children and their communities.

“Encouraging parents and communities to engage in children’s education will have a very positive impact on our public schools, and help school districts tackle difficult problems like our nation’s high dropout rate,” Bingaman said.

Bingaman is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is responsible for writing and overseeing federal education laws.