Education is a priority for families in the Ninth District. I am honored to represent the district’s many schools, enrichment centers, and institutions of higher education. Education has been one of the focal points of my career, and I believe everyone should have access to a quality education.
For nearly 20 years, I worked tirelessly as a Tennessee State Senator to initiate and pass the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program to fund college scholarships, after-school programs, and pre-K education for Tennessee’s students. Since the inception of the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship program in 2004, over $4 billion has gone to Tennessee students continuing their education at the college level.
Today, I am proud to continue working to improve education in the U.S. House of Representatives. Throughout my career in Congress, I have introduced legislation aimed at improving educational access and standards for students of all ages.
FUNDING AND ACCESS
I introduced the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Act (H.R. 1674). The bill ensures privately issued student loans will once again be treated like other consumer debt and be dischargeable in bankruptcy. Due to changes Congress made to bankruptcy laws 10 years ago, student loans made by private, for-profit lenders are currently very difficult to discharge in bankruptcy.
I introduced the bipartisan Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers (POST) Act (H.R. 4101). This bill helps stop for-profit colleges from aggressively targeting veterans and active-duty service members by eliminating the powerful financial incentives that cause them to do so.
I introduced the Protections and Regulation for Our (PRO) Students Act (H.R. 2192) with my colleagues to protect. This bill protects students from deceitful practices and bad actors in the for-profit college industry. It provides stricter guidelines for colleges, ensures that students have access to important and accurate information and data, strengthens oversight and regulation, and holds schools accountable for violations and poor performance.
I am a co-sponsor of the Put School Counselors Where They’re Needed Act (H.R.2022). This bill authorizes a demonstration program to place additional professional secondary school counselors in high schools with drop-out rates of 40 percent or more.
I introduced the Restorative Justice in Schools Act , which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to allow local educational agencies to use the funds to provide professional development activities that train school personnel to use restorative justice as a means of conflict resolution. Restorative justice is a method that aims to resolve conflicts between students in a manner that focuses on the victim and the offender of a wrong-doing. Unlike traditional punishment, this can prevent the use of penalties such as incarceration that are often times, too harsh, expensive, and counter-productive, leading to repeat offenses. The amendment passed the House on July 8, 2015 and similar language was included in the final bill, which President Obama signed into law on December 10, 2015.
I introduced the Positive Reduction of Incarceration by Maximizing Education (PRIME) Act, which is a means to promote the choice of education vs. incarceration. About one in every ten young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, compared with one in thirty-five young male high school graduates. This legislation arises out of research that has demonstrated increased education is directly related to reduce incarceration. America's youth must be exposed to the concrete benefits of academic accomplishment.
I cosponsored The Keeping All Students Safe Act (H.R. 4247), in order to prevent and reduce the use of physical restraint and seclusion in schools. This act will protect our youth from physical or mental abuse, aversive behavioral interventions that compromise health and safety, and any physical restraint or seclusion imposed solely for purposes of discipline or convenience, in order to ensure physical restraint and seclusion are imposed in school only when a student's behavior poses an imminent danger of physical injury to the student, school personnel, or others.
I introduced the Maximizing Opportunity and Retaining Experienced Teachers Act (MORE Teachers Act) to help address teacher shortages and retain qualified, experienced teachers. The legislation, which is supported by both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, would make teachers who teach in geographic areas with teacher shortages and those who teach an underserved subject matter eligible for up to $17,500 of federal loan forgiveness if they stay in their position for 5 years.
More on Education
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, expressed his opposition to President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, saying he fears it will move the nation’s highest court further to the right and undermine important civil rights. He made the following statement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded grants totaling more than 12.5 million dollars to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Shelby County Board of Education’s Head Start Program.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, fondly recalled Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who argued the landmark case that ended the separate but equal doctrine and led to the desegregation of public schools. The ruling came down on this date in 1954. The Congressman made the following statement:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) recognized Teacher Appreciation Week and released the following statement:
Become your own best advocate for government contracting by discovering resources available to help you gain an edge in this lucrative but competitive market. Memphis small business owners will have an opporutnity to learn about the federal government contracting process. If you are new to the federal contracting process and want to know the basics on how to do business with the federal government, this fair will add clarity to the process.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) expressed dismay that the Tennessee state Senate Education Committee failed on Wednesday to advance a bill to provide in-state tuition to students currently protected by the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs, effectively killing the effort, and made the following statement.
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today announced that he will be introducing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump following the President’s comments on the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
New York Times columnist David Leonhardt recently highlighted the current trend to focus on vocational training as a cure-all for job preparedness, student debt and poor matriculation.