Investing in education is an investment into our economy and quality of life. Advancements in childhood nutrition, after-school programs, technology in schools, as well as teacher salaries and teacher recruitment and training must be a priority for success. We have seen severe state budget cuts undermine the ability of states and local school districts to provide a quality education to all American children; this has resulted in overcrowded and dilapidated schools, overburdened teachers, and increased class sizes, inadequate support services like special education, after-school care and preschool programs. That is why I have continually voted against legislation that would make drastic cuts to our children’s education.
Social and Emotional Learning:
In the last few years, I have become convinced of the necessity of teaching social and emotional learning skills to our children, and have worked with some great leaders in bringing the financial and intellectual skills and expertise to the Youngstown and Warren City Schools. Social and Emotional Learning is a process that promotes the development of core personal competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships skills, and responsible decision-making, all within a safe, caring, and participatory learning environment.
I joined with my colleagues Congresswoman Judy Biggert and Congressman Dale Kildee in introducing the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011 (HR 2437). The act defines social and emotional learning (SEL) and amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to allow funding for teacher and principal training and professional development to be used for SEL programming.
Taking Action on Education:
According to the Department of Labor, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields have become more central to the US economic competitiveness and growth. That is why I introduced this legislation which will bolster our students’ access to quality non-traditional STEM programs, such as robotics. The legislation establishes the Inspiration School Grant program, which provides teachers with the hands-on training they need to ensure their students succeed in the program, as well as stipends for instruction outside of school hours.
HR 3826: To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the reduced interest rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans This legislation would prevent subsidized Stafford student loan rates from doubling from 3.4% to 6.8%. This language was included in the Transportation Conference report that would block the doubling of the student loan rate on July 1st. Without this important legislation 7.4 million college students would have experienced doubled interest rates. I voted in favor of this legislation, which passed the House by a vote of 373-52.
This legislation would reverse the special bankruptcy protections for private student lenders included in the 2005 bankruptcy law and allow most private loans to be discharged in bankruptcy.
It is important to invest in our teachers and make sure they are provided with the resources they need to successfully educate our children. This legislation would extend the tax credit for an above-the-line deduction for classroom expenses to December 31, 2012 and increase the dollar limit to $500.
This legislation would help put an end to bullying in American elementary and secondary schools, by requiring states to work alongside local agencies that combat bullying and harassment by reporting bullying incidents to the agency and providing additional technical support.
For more information concerning my work and views on Education, please contact my Washington, DC office.
I look forward to your feedback.
See also information on student financial aid.