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 21, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Southwest Tennessee Community College has received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Predominantly Black Institutions Program to improve educational outcomes for African American male students.

Congressman Cohen made the following comment:

September 16, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Memphis and Shelby County’s continuum of care organization, the Community Alliance for the Homeless, will receive a grant of $3,444,180 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a youth homelessness prevention demonstration program.

September 16, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced two grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling $4,192,346 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC).

September 14, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS -- Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today introduced legislation to address the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey introduced a companion bill in the Senate. The measure, the Reducing Obesity in Youth Act, has implications for the future health of American children and has a bearing on future national health care costs and national security. 

September 13, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Southwest Tennessee Community College will receive a $225,517 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support campus-based childcare services for low-income parents in post-secondary education.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 13, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, today spoke against an amendment to the Budget Reconciliation bill during the full Committee mark up of the measure. The amendment by Congressman Tom McClintock (CA-04) would have allowed community violence prevention grantees to ignore President Biden’s vaccination requirement announced last week.

September 7, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a grant of $3,211,742 to repair, renovate and modernize its biocontainment laboratory from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 3, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that Porter-Leath’s Head Start Programs will be receiving two grants totaling $3,399,220 from the Administration for Children and Families-Office of Head. One of the grants, for $2,098,080, is for expansion of its Early Head Start programs.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

September 2, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a $705,287 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for research predicting the progression of chronic kidney disease in sickle cell anemia using machine learning models.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

August 26, 2021 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) will receive a $347,700 grant from the National Cancer Institute for research on the cause and prevention of cancer.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: