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 2019 budget process, I sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education requesting $34.6 billion in funding for the Federal Pell Grant Program.
More on Education
This week, I continued to work on the comprehensive elements of our government’s coronavirus response. The following is an overview of policies my colleagues and I support as Congress works on the next coronavirus legislative package.
Additionally, the 8th District remains behind the state and national self-response rates for the 2020 Census. As of this week, our community is only at 45% completion, trailing New Jersey at 56.3% and the country at 54.6%. To receive the millions of dollars in annual funding our community deserves, we all must do our part and be counted.
Last week in Washington, the House voted on removing the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment and expanding public land protections. I met with the New Jersey Fraternal Order of the Police, representatives of New Jersey community colleges, the NJ Clean Cities Coalition and Transportation Energy Partners, and more. I attended a House Budget Committee hearing and also chaired a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing.
This week, the House of Representatives took up reforms to our nation’s credit system and passed legislation restricting authorization for conflict with Iran. I attended a Budget Committee hearing on the economic outlook of the next decade and an Europe and Eurasia Subcommittee hearing on stopping the rise of antisemitism. I also met with students from Elizabeth, NJ and activists on the crisis in Syria.
(Washington, D.C.) - Earlier this week, the House passed 2 funding packages that averted another painful holiday shutdown. While the packages were not perfect, they funded vital programs that will help Americans across the country and include landmark funding for essential initiatives.
Last week in Washington, the House of Representatives passed my resolution disapproving Russia’s inclusion in future G-7 summits with bipartisan support. The House also considered legislation on voting rights, robocalls, and insider trading. I met with the Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Sudan and advocated for Puerto Rico’s promised emergency relief.
Last week in Washington, I met with local leaders in education, supported an impeachment inquiry and drew attention in Congress to our local transportation issues. I held a hearing on the Administration’s disastrous cuts to Latin America and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee on our country’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific region.