The school year is in full swing. Backpacks are loaded, classrooms are full, and teachers are busy planning their next lesson. Each morning, when we see the friendly and familiar yellow school bus riding through our neighborhoods, we are reminded that the next generation of leaders are headed off to gain knowledge and the tools they need for success.

This is always an exciting time for Nebraska families as they adjust back into the school year routine. Mornings start bright and early. Time needs to be set aside for homework. Dinner table conversations revolve around new friends and how school is going. It’s so important to talk to our children and stay engaged in their academic experience.

In the Senate, I serve as the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. In the spirit of the new school year, I recently joined the ranking member of my subcommittee, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, to introduce a bipartisan resolution designating September 2015 as “School Bus Safety Month.”

Across America, nearly 480,000 school buses carry 26 million children to and from school each week. This comprises the largest mass transportation fleet in our country. Whether along farm roads in Nebraska or the turnpike in New Jersey, our school buses travel over five billion miles per school year. The bright yellow school bus symbolizes an opportunity for the future. With this resolution, we kick off another school year where our students will be challenged to work hard and seize the day on the road to the American Dream.

Before my time in the Nebraska Legislature, I served on my local school board in Valentine and as president of the Nebraska Association of School Boards. Those experiences helped shape my belief that education decisions are best made at the local level.

Parents, teachers, school boards, and communities are in the best position to know the needs of their students. For that reason, I was proud to support an education reform bill, known as the Every Child Achieves Act, which passed the Senate in July. This important legislation restores control to parents and communities so they can determine education policies to ensure every child’s academic success. It will end the Common Core mandate by letting states determine their academic standards without any interference from Washington. And ultimately, the bill replaces “one-size-fits-all” bureaucracy with real reforms that will set our students on the path to a brighter future.

Rest assured, I will continue my efforts to make sure education decisions are made at the local level. From my family to yours, I wish you and your family a wonderful school year.

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.