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Congressman Albio Sires

Representing the 8th District of New Jersey

Education

Investing in education will ensure that future generations have the resources they need to allow our nation to succeed.  To do this, we must work to recruit qualified teachers, reduce class sizes, and make college more affordable. My experience as a teacher in New Jersey encourages me to fight for the highest quality education for our students at every level.

As a former teacher, I know that a teacher’s impact is felt not only in the classroom, but also on the practice fields and in the community. As a student, I had the support of my teachers inside and outside the classroom. As a result, I felt compelled to become a teacher in order to give students the same opportunities that my teachers had given me. New Jersey has some of the most talented teachers in the country. While we ask teachers to prepare our children to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, we must also give them the tools and resources to rise to these challenges.

I understand first-hand that investing in early childhood education is fundamental to the foundations of our children’s learning and development. Investing in our children early will provide the best advantage for younger generations. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the main source of federal aid to K-12 education. Initially enacted in 1965, this law was amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) to achieve accountability of school systems for improving student achievement outcomes. However, some requirements have become burdensome and punitive. As Congress looks for ways to reform the ESEA, I will continue to work to ensure the needs of our nation’s children are put first.

It is critical that our students are able to compete globally. That is why I believe we must invest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs across the country.  Graduates with STEM degrees are in high demand and are indispensable to our economic wellbeing. These programs will help build a highly-competitive workforce both in New Jersey and across the country. That is why I will continue to support programming that focuses on STEM education for students at every level.

While in Congress, I have supported efforts to improve access to a college education. A college degree has become as important as a high school degree was a generation ago. Therefore, making college more affordable must be a top priority. The largest source of federal grant aid for postsecondary education students comes from Pell Grants. The maximum Pell Grant awards have been maintained at $5,550, and are essential to opening doors and giving students the financial means to attend college. During the Fiscal Year 2016 budget process, I supported the Democratic Alternative Budget Resolution, which would close corporate tax loopholes and increase education investments like early childhood education and Pell Grants.

More on Education

Aug 2, 2013
Last week, President Obama attended the House Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss many issues including expanding the middle class and creating jobs. He spoke about investing in education and infrastructure as well as comprehensive immigration reform as a means to economic growth. As Congress heads into a district work period, it is important for us to stay focused on the issues ahead of us.
Jun 14, 2013
This is a very critical time in Congress; student loan interest rates are set to double on July 1st, and Medicare and Social Security are in danger of damaging and unreasonable cuts. As we work to reduce the deficit, we must be careful that we do so wisely while protecting those who cannot afford it. I encourage you to continue reading to learn more about the work I’ve done to address these issues.
May 10, 2013
This week, I met with several groups from the district including nurses, students, and mail handlers. It is important to my work in D.C. to learn about the specific needs of New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District directly from my constituents. For the inside look on this week’s meetings, I invite you to continue reading my Washington Review.
May 8, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of our teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week.
Jan 24, 2013
The U.S. House of Representatives launched a new website integrating the history of the House, the art and artifacts in the House Collection, and records and research materials dating back to the beginning of Congress. Visit the new website at http://history.house.gov/.
Jun 29, 2012
Washington, D.C.-- Today, Congressman Sires joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing legislation by a vote of 373-52 to extend the current student loan interest rate of 3.4% for one year. Without Congressional action, the rate would have doubled to 6.8% by July 1st.
Jun 20, 2012

Madam Speaker, access to affordable higher education is one of the reasons that our country is so great. As someone who lives in the Gateway to America, I have seen firsthand the transformational power of education. However, access to higher education is now being threatened.

In less than two weeks, the interest rate for student loans is scheduled to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. This will make it extremely burdensome for students and families with limited financial resources to attend college.

Jun 7, 2012

Mister Speaker, in less than one month, the interest rate for student loans is scheduled to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. This increased rate, combined with the skyrocketing costs for college, will make it extremely difficult for Americans to afford to go to college.

The cost for a higher education at a public four year college has almost TRIPLED in the past 17 years. Americans now owe MORE in tuition debt than they do in credit card debt.

May 9, 2012

Mister Speaker, I rise today to honor our teachers during National Appreciation Week.

Teachers do not merely just teach in the classroom --- they listen to their students and gently push them to reach their full potential. Teachers serve as role models and mentors.  Because of the mentorship of my teachers in high school, I applied for college. I was fortunate to be given a full basketball scholarship, an opportunity that I would not have known about if it weren’t for my teachers. Upon graduating, I decided to give back to my community and become a teacher.

Apr 26, 2012
Washington, D.C.-- Today, Congressman Sires cosponsored H.R. 4816 the “Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012,” which extends current student interest rates for one year and fully pays for the cost.

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