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

September 17, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today commemorated Constitution Day. September 17 marks the 233rd anniversary of the formal signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 and has been variously known as “Constitution Day,” “Citizenship Day” and, since 2004, as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.”

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 16, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced the National Institutes of Health have awarded significant grants to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). St. Jude will receive $2,101,865 from the National Cancer Institute for work on telehealth-based exercises for childhood cancer survivors. UTHSC will receive $418,384 for clinical research into neurological disorders from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 15, 2020 Press Release

 

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive two grants totaling more than $790,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The first, for $581,359, from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, will underwrite research on renal insufficiency in infants. The second, for $210,000, from the National Institute on Aging, will support research on the biochemistry of aging.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 15, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for, and the House passed, the Strength in Diversity Act, which would expand existing educational diversity initiatives.

The vote was 248 to 167.

After the vote, Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“Diversity in our schools strengthens our democracy and improves educational outcomes. This bill advances good ideas in public policy and expands initiatives that are already proven successes stories. I’m pleased to vote for this measure and hope to see it enacted into law.”

September 11, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, today announced two National Science Foundation grants to Rhodes College. The first, for $267,970, is for the study of brain activity involved in body movement. The second, for $84,657, is for research promoting legal and policy collaboration in robot design.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 9, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (or CSCE, also known as the Helsinki Commission), tonight wrote to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to condemn the crackdown on academic freedom in his country and recent limitations on freedom of expression. Congressman Cohen noted that the OSCE expressed a similar concern in a resolution passed in 2017.

The Congressman’s letter reads in part:

August 31, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the Porter-Leath Head Start Programs will be receiving a grant of $1,207,183 from the Administration for Children and Families-Office of Head.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

August 27, 2020 Press Release

 

MEMPHIS -- Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the Porter-Leath Early Head Start Programs will be receiving a $1,979,643 grant from the Administration for Children and Families-Office of Head Start.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

August 26, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a grant of $559,327 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for research into arterial stiffness and hypertension.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

August 18, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), who as a Tennessee State Senator sponsored legislation to create and served on the Women’s Suffrage Commission for the 75th anniversary and championed the public art inside the state Capitol in recognition of Tennessee’s historic role in ratifying the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and women’s right to vote on this date in 1920, today commemorated the 100th anniversary of the occasion and made the following statement: