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
Continuing my advocacy for the residents of the 8th District, this week I met with undergraduate students from New Jersey, discussed transportation policy regarding the state’s critical infrastructure, attended important hearings on international affairs, and met with several foreign diplomats.
This week in Washington, I participated in a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing, attended a Joint Session of Congress, met with a foreign ambassador, discussed important topics with several constituent groups, and voted on important pieces of legislation.
(Washington, D.C.) - Yesterday, Congressman Sires voted against the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Republican Budget Resolution (H.Con.Res. 27) submitted by Representative Tom Price (R-GA) because of its misplaced priorities. The Republican budget ends the Medicare guarantee, repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and guts investments in education and infrastructure.
This week in Washington, I participated in various Committee and Subcommittee hearings, and met with several constituent groups, as well as foreign officials.
Over the past two weeks in Washington, I reintroduced important legislation, participated in several Subcommittee hearings, met with various constituent organizations, and voted on legislation in the House.
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires announced that New Jersey was awarded a Preschool Development Grant by the Department of Education to expand preschool programs in underserved communities across the state. Specifically, New Jersey was awarded $17,498,115 in fiscal year 2014 to support expansion of voluntary, high-quality preschool programs for 4 year olds in high-need communities for children from low-and-moderate income families.
This week I had a series of productive meetings with constituents and leaders from New Jersey; attended a Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing regarding Iraq; met with members of the British Parliament to discuss transportation policy; and supported bringing legislation to the floor that would relieve increasing costs of flood insurance.