Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Education

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.

PERFORMANCE

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.

SAFTEY

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.

TEACHERS

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

December 2, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a $380,000 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for research on diabetic vascular disease. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

“Diabetes is more prevalent in Memphis and higher than the national average, so research into any aspect of the disease is good for Memphians. This research will strengthen our Memphis medical school and support critical research to fight this devastating disease.” 

 

November 13, 2019 Press Release

  

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced he filed paperwork to reinstate the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus to serve as an informal forum for members dedicated to examining issues of student-athlete compensation, the integrity and fairness of college sports and NCAA eligibility decisions that may come before Congress. 

Congressman Cohen originally formed the first Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus with former Texas Congressman Joe Barton in 2011. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

September 4, 2019 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, will preside at a Memphis Field Hearing on “Discriminatory Barriers to Voting” on Thursday, September 5, in the Historic Moot Courtroom of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law on Front Street downtown. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas are expected to attend the hearing.

Among the witnesses at the hearing will be:

August 28, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the Porter-Leath Early Head Start Programs will be receiving an additional $1,979,643 grant from the Administration for Children and Families-Office of Head Start. On Monday, the Congressman announced Porter-Leath would be receiving $1,207,183 for the same Early Head Start programs.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

August 26, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Head Start have awarded Porter-Leath a $1,207,183 grant to operate its Early Head Start programs.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I’m pleased that Porter-Leath will be receiving these funds to help make sure young children in our community are ready for kindergarten both academically and socially. Disadvantaged children need early help to prepare for a competitive world, and that help is beneficial for the whole community.”

July 24, 2019 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis will be receiving a $355,579 grant from the National Science Foundation for work on a computational and data-enabled science and engineering library. 

 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

June 24, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Methodist LeBonheur Community Outreach will be receiving a grant payment of $1,050,000 in its ongoing teenage pregnancy prevention program, “Be Proud! Be Responsible!”

The funding underwrites the program through June of 2020.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 19, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis will be receiving $199,673 from the National Science Foundation to underwrite research by Mechanical Engineering Professor Ranganathan Gopalakrishnan on “dusty plasmas.” Dusty plasmas are low temperature plasmas with charged microparticles suspended in them.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 14, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis will be receiving $395,791 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for research identifying the neurophysiological basis of “risky decision-making.”

Congressman Cohen also announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will be receiving $388,611 from the National Institute of Mental Health to study genes, neural circuits and behavior.