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

August 3, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis will receive a grant of $299,998 to underwrite a project titled “Understanding the Role of Undergraduate Research and Mentoring in the Self-Efficacy, Identity, and Success of Engineering Undergraduate Students” under the direction of Electrical Computer Engineering Professor Chrysanthe Preza.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

July 30, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), who was in the House Chamber Gallery when the rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol on January 6, fully supports the efforts of the Select Committee looking into the attack.

July 30, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Steve Cohen (TN-09), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), and Eric Swalwell (CA-15) today introduced the Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act. This legislation would restore fairness in student lending by treating privately issued student loans the same as other types of private debt are treated in bankruptcy. Until 2005, this type of student loan debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy, but a change to the bankruptcy code that year removed that consumer protection.

July 13, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today reintroduced the Diversity Advancements in Accelerated Academic Programs Act, a measure authorizing the use of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding to create equity offices in state departments of education or local education agencies that would develop programs to improve diversity in Advanced Placement (AP) and Gifted and Talented (GT) programs.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

July 12, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, today expressed his support for the Biden Administration’s gun violence strategy and its work with Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis. Davis was among several municipal officials who met with Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss use of $350 million in American Rescue Plan funding dedicated to implementing proven violence-prevention policies.

 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

 

July 2, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – In advance of Sunday’s observance of America’s 245th birthday, Congressman Cohen (TN-09) released the following statement:

“On Sunday, friends, family and neighbors will gather for barbecues and fireworks to celebrate our nation’s independence. When our founders signed the Declaration of Independence 245 years ago, they set us on a path to liberty and freedom that has become the envy of the world.

June 30, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), who was in the House Chamber when violent insurrectionists assaulted the U.S. Capitol on January 6, today voted to create a Select Committee on the events of that day.

The vote on passage was 222 to 190.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 29, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted to remove statues honoring former officials of the Confederate States of America who fought against the United States of America in the Civil War from the U.S. Capitol. Congressman Cohen has been a leader in the effort to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and founder of the Ku Klux Klan, from the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville.

The vote on passage was 285 to 120.

After the vote today, Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

June 17, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) announced today that his District and Washington offices will be closed on Friday, June 18, in observance of Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday. Congressman Cohen also made the following statement about the observance of the holiday:

June 17, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Memphis will receive a $1,271,532 grant from the National Science Foundation for a project entitled “Investigating chemosensory evolution in longhorned beetles using a comparative phylogenomic framework that integrates genomic, morphological, and biochemical data.”

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: