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

March 18, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, today announced that the University of Memphis will receive  a grant of $297,822 from the National Science Foundation to improve statistical literacy.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

March 11, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Danny Davis (IL-07), who co-introduced H.R. 3250, the Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools Study Act, last June, applauded its advance in a Natural Resources Committee Markup this morning.   

March 11, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today moderated a briefing hosted by the newly re-constituted Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus to discuss issues of student athlete compensation, as well as the fairness and integrity of the games overseen by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Congressman Cohen founded the Collegiate Sports Caucus with former Texas Congressman Joe Barton in 2011. 

March 11, 2020 Press Release

  

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today moderated a briefing hosted by the newly re-constituted Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus to discuss issues of student athlete compensation, as well as the fairness and integrity of the games overseen by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Congressman Cohen founded the Collegiate Sports Caucus with former Texas Congressman Joe Barton in 2011. 

March 5, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced the Diversity Advancements in Accelerated Academic Programs (D.A.A.A.P.) Act, aimed at improving diversity by creating equity offices in state education departments or local education agencies to encourage programs to improve diversity in Advanced Placement (AP) and Gifted and Talented (GT) academic programs.

March 5, 2020 Press Release

  

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), founder of the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus, will co-host a caucus briefing to discuss protections for athletes and address concerns about the integrity and fairness of college athletics policies on Wednesday, March 11. Congressman Cohen originally founded the Collegiate Sports Caucus in 2011. 

February 21, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, today spoke against anti-Semitism at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Winter meeting in Vienna, Austria. The CSCE is also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

In his remarks, Congressman Cohen said:

February 20, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a $1,137,678 grant from the National Eye Institute to conduct research on glaucoma.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that is five times more prevalent in African Americans. This research grant will help develop therapies to treat the disease and keep ophthalmologists at work to find an eventual cure.”

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February 19, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Southwest Tennessee Community College will be receiving a $998,405 grant from the Department of Labor’s Closing the Skills Gap Program designed to expand apprenticeship programs.

The college was one of 28 recipients of grants awarded Wednesday totaling nearly $100 million that will support the training of 92,000 individuals in new or expanded apprenticeship programs.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

February 18, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will receive a $702,163 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for research on drug resistance in a form of fungus responsible for lung infections.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“Understanding disease resistance is the best way to avoid serious infections like those targeted in this research. I’m pleased our Memphis-based medical school is putting scientists to work on this important research.”