I believe that the best way to ensure a more prosperous future for our children is by investing in education. The opportunity to receive a quality education should be afforded to all, begin in preschool, and continue through college and beyond.
Preschool, elementary and secondary students need access to instruction from well-trained and resourced teachers that prepare them for higher education and the workforce. I support programs that help local schools and children like Head Start and Title I. In addition to backing these programs, I have assisted school districts in obtaining federal funding, including helping Brownsville Independent School District secure over $10 million for technology from the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund.
For college students, the Federal Stafford Loans, Pell Grants, and other similar programs are essential lifelines in providing opportunities to pursue higher education. In addition to supporting these resources for students, my work in Congress is focused on helping local colleges and universities such as The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M University - Kingsville, and Texas Southmost College access federal funding for research and supporting students, especially first-generation students, minority students, and migrant workers.
During the school year, I visit schools to talk with young people. From preschoolers to medical students, I enjoy hearing about the issues that matter to them. I am especially interested in hearing from students and teachers engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in the district. These programs are vital in ensuring that our country stays competitive in the 21st century.
In addition to visiting with students in their classrooms, I also have the pleasure of hosting students, teachers, and parents visiting Washington D.C. My office would be more than happy to coordinate tours of the U.S. Capitol building, the Library of Congress, and other landmarks. I encourage educators and young people that are visiting Washington, D.C. to contact my office to let us know how we can assist with your plans.
College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674) – It is past time that we reauthorize and revise the HIgher Education Act of 1965. This bill does just that while also consolidating federal student loans and expanding loan forgiveness. This bill increases college access and success for certain students (e.g., students with low-income, children, or the disabled) through investments and practices, such as student support services and accelerated learning opportunities. I am proud to cosponsor legislation that will provide all with the opportunity to pursue higher education.
Rebuild America’s Schools Act (H.R. 865) – A 2016 report on the condition of school facilities showed that 5 of the 13 schools visited for the report are in condemned buildings, meaning that the extent of their disrepair is so great that they cannot be occupied.This bill would provide much needed financial assistance for long-term improvements to public school facilities. This bill also aims to make public school facilities accessible to disabled individuals. Lastly, this bill requires local education agencies to adopt certain green practices (environmental standards) and use products made in the United States (Buy America). This bill not only ensures that our youth are learning in a safe environment, but also promotes green practices and American products.
Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act (H.R. 6814) – All students should have access to broadband and the internet connectivity necessary to be successful in the classroom. This bill would create regulations to provide support to institutions of higher education so that they can acquire the equipment and services to ensure all students have the resources they need.