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

July 2, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, today applauded the inclusion of his bill, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Careers Act, in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  This AI Careers Act aims to improve AI education and AI workforce development.  The NDAA is set to come to the House Floor in the coming weeks.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

July 1, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced major U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. UTHSC will receive $318,302 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for research on blood diseases. St. Jude will receive $2,277,711 from the National Cancer Institute for work on cancer causes and prevention.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

July 1, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, today announced that the University of Memphis will receive an $850,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure for research on mobile health data management.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 30, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a $357,200 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for research into the genetics of stroke vulnerability.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 30, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, today announced that LeMoyne-Owen College will receive a grant of $399,579 from the National Science Foundation for research entitled “Target Infusion Project: Overcoming the Mathematical Barrier.”

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 26, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a $432,218 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for research into neurological disorders.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 19, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, today announced that Southwest Tennessee Community College will receive a grant of $1,859,883 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase student success in community college mathematics through instructional change.

Southwest is one of eight community colleges participating in the five-year project aimed at improving instruction and retention rates.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 17, 2020 Press Release

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business and Economics will receive a $111,999 grant from the National Science Foundation to study how rapid changes in work conditions in response to the pandemic have affected employee well-being.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 12, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a grant of $426,685 from the National Eye Institute for research on corneal wound healing.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I’m pleased that our medical school can continue working on important vision research in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m confident this funding will keep researchers in their labs working to find valuable treatments and therapies.”

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June 11, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis will receive a grant of $337,088 from the U.S. Department of Education to work on a technology-based reading comprehension system for adult literacy students.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“With one in six adults reading at a low proficiency level, this grant will address a critical national need. I’m pleased this funding will put the U of M in the vanguard of adult education programs addressing this problem.”