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.
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.
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.
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
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressmen Steve Cohen (TN-09), Danny 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 in bankruptcy. Until 2005, this type of student loan debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy, but a change to the bankruptcy code made that year removed this consumer protection.
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) tonight released the following statement on the address by President Donald Trump to a joint session of Congress:
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today attended a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing entitled Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America with FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith.
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 11, 2016) — Today, Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), and Steve Cohen (D-TN) sent a letter to Congressmen Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to request a hearing on school bus safety.