Eleanor Holmes Norton on Education
Democratic Representative (DC-Delegate)
2003: Criticized vouchers in DC public schools
D.C. Mayor Williams in 2003 helped initiate a system called the "Opportunity Scholarship Program" to provide more than 1,000 vouchers per year to poor children in the failing public school system. Mayor Williams has of course received the expected outrag
and criticism from the teachers' unions and so-called Black leaders like D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, but he knows that education and doing all he can to provide a better future for D.C.'s children is more important than politics.
Source: They Think You're Stupid, by Herman Cain, p. 41
, Jun 14, 2005
$25B to renovate or repair elementary schools.
Norton signed Fix America's Schools Today Act (FAST)
Fix America's Schools Today (FAST) Act of 2011:
Source: HR2948&S1597 11-HR2948 on Sep 15, 2011
- Authorizes $25 billion to carry out this title, which shall be available until Sept. 30, 2012
- Allocates grants to states and, through them, subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to modernize, renovate, or repair early learning or elementary or secondary education facilities.
- Requires grants be allocated directly to the 100 LEAs with the largest numbers of children aged 5-17 living in poverty, to modernize, renovate, or repair such facilities.
- Requires states to give subgrant priority to projects that comply with certain green building standards.
- Prohibits the use of such grants for new construction or routine maintenance costs.
- Reserves funds for a survey, by the National Center for Education Statistics, of nationwide public school construction, modernization, renovation, and repair needs.
Allocates grants to states to modernize, renovate, or repair existing facilities at community colleges.
- Requires, with certain exceptions, the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in projects funded by this Act to be domestic.
- Applies the prevailing wage rate requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act to projects assisted pursuant to this Act.
Comprehensive sex ed for sexually-active adolescents.
Norton co-sponsored Real Education for Healthy Youth Act
Award competitive grants to provide adolescents with comprehensive sex education to:
Prohibits federal funds provided under this Act from being used for health education programs that:
- replicate evidence-based sex education programs,
- substantially incorporate elements of evidence-based sex education programs, or
- create a demonstration project based on generally accepted characteristics of effective sex education programs.
- deliberately withhold life-saving information about HIV;
- are medically inaccurate or have been scientifically shown to be ineffective;
- promote gender stereotypes;
- are insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of sexually active youth or lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth; or
- are inconsistent with the ethical imperatives of medicine and public health.
Opponent's argument against bill: (Nick Wing on Huffington Post) An abstinence-only effort, introduced the same day, the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, stands as an effective counter to the Democratic-backed Real Education for Healthy Youth Act.
According to the text of the abstinence-only bill, sex education programs would need to be "medically accurate" and teach the "skills and benefits of sexual abstinence as the optimal sexual health behavior for youth" in order to qualify for grant money. The bill also calls for applicable programs to focus on the "holistic health, economic, and societal benefits that can be gained by refraining from non-marital sexual activity," as well as to provide an "understanding of how drugs, alcohol, and the irresponsible use of social media can influence sexual decision-making and can contribute to risky and often aggressive sexual behavior."
Source: H.R.725 / S.372 13-H0725 on Feb 14, 2013
Sponsored 10/10 Loan Forgiveness: cancel college loans after 10 years.
Norton co-sponsored Student Loan Fairness Act
Congressional Summary:Student Loan Fairness Act:
- Establishes a 10/10 Loan Forgiveness Program that provides forgiveness to borrowers who, have made 120 monthly payments in the previous 10 years.
- Caps the amount of loan forgiveness that the program will provide to individuals, and caps the interest rate on new loans at 3.4%.
- Includes primary care physicians in medically underserved areas in the public service employee loan forgiveness program.
Opponent's argument against bill: (Blog post on voices.yahoo.com, "Why I'm Against the Student Loan Fairness Act"): The two key points to this bill are:
- The 10-10 plan: Where an individual would be required to make ten years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which their remaining federal student loan debt would be forgiven.
- Cap federal interest rates at
3.4% and allowing existing borrowers whose educational loan debt exceeds their income to convert their private loan debt into federal Direct Loans.
Sounds enticing enough. They make a convincing argument that convinced over 200,000 people to sign their petition, many of whom shared their personal stories of student debt and how this act would change their lives. I disagree with all of them.
Source: H.R.1330 13-H1330 on Mar 21, 2013
- First, there is already student loan forgiveness act that erases your loans after 20 years. It is called Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
- Many people who signed the petition argued that the government bailed out the banks, so why not us? The main difference [with TARP is that] most banks paid back the loans from TARP [while student loan forgiveness will make] $1 trillion magically disappear.
- If the average college graduate is 22 years old, then we are talking about being debt free by 32. That is a risk I see many young college students willing to take.
Sponsored extending subsidized federal student loan rates until 2015.
Norton co-sponsored Student Loan Affordability Act
Congressional Summary:Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the 3.4% interest rate on Federal Direct Stafford loans to loans first disbursed to undergraduate students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2015. Replaces the [termination date of] 2013 with 2015.
Proponent's argument for bill:(US PIRG press release): The Student Loan Affordability Act keeps interest rates affordable for students over the next two years. If Congress fails to act by July 1, interest rates on federal Subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. That would hike the cost of college by $1,000 per student, per loan, for over 7 million students across the country. The bill pays for extending the current interest rates through 2015 by closing three non-education tax loopholes.
Opponent's argument against bill:(Rep. Tom Cotton, R-AR): Unfortunately, too many students today struggle for years to repay their loans because Washington politicians dictate student-loan rates and end up hurting students and taxpayers alike. It's causing tuition costs to skyrocket, leaving students buried in debt, often without jobs, and forced to delay buying a home and starting a family. As students struggle to repay their loans--regardless of the interest rate--taxpayers are on the hook for a $100 billion bailout--a burden hard-working Arkansans shouldn't have to bear. A better path is to let Arkansas's hometown banks work with students and families to finance higher education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses, and other loans. I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business.
Source: S.707 / H.R.1433 13-H1433 on Apr 11, 2013
Recruit women & minorities for STEM teaching.
Norton co-sponsored HR4803 & S2710
Grant program to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. Congress finds the following:
- STEM education at the undergraduate level is vital to developing a workforce that will allow the US to remain the leader in the 21st century global economy.
- Women and minorities comprise over half of the US workforce but only make up 26% of STEM workers.
- Approximately 52% of women and minorities in STEM fields quit their jobs about 10 years into their careers.
- It is important for gender equality to increase the retention of women in STEM fields, as women in STEM careers earn 33% more than those in non-STEM jobs, and have a smaller wage gap relative to men.
- The US should address the need to increase the number of individuals from underrepresented minority segments of the population who work in engineering.
- Women and underrepresented minorities leave the STEM fields at higher rates than their counterparts, leading to a need to develop resources to retain these groups in the STEM fields.
- An eligible entity that receives a grant under this section shall use such grant funds to carry out one or more of the following activities designed to increase the participation of women or minorities underrepresented in science and engineering:
Source: Women and Minorities in STEM Booster Act 16-HR4803 on Mar 17, 2016
- Online workshops.
- 2) Mentoring programs that partner STEM professionals with students.
- Internships for undergraduate and graduate students in the STEM fields.
- Conducting outreach programs that provide elementary school and secondary school students with opportunities to increase their exposure to STEM fields.
- Programs to increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty.
Supported funding for teacher training & other initiatives.
Norton adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:
The teams of the Women’s Caucus are charged with advancing action on their designated issues in a bipartisan manner. Legislation from Team 4. EDUCATION
- HR455—Teacher Technology Training Act of 1999—A bill to provide grants to local education agencies to provide integrated classroom-related computer training for elementary and secondary school teachers. (Capps)
- HR645—Teacher Technology Training Act of 1999—A bill to require states to incorporate technology requirements in teacher training content and performance standards. (Morella)
- HR1307—After-School Children’s Education (ACE) Act—A bill to provide for grants, a national clearinghouse of information and a GAO report on the quality and availability of after school programs. (Castle)
- HR1129—A bill to remove the 60 month limitation for taking a tax deduction of student loan interest. (Mink)
- HR1456—A bill to improve the National Writing Project program. (Miller-CA)
- HR637—Gifted and Talented Students Education Act of 1999—A bill to make improvements and expand the gifted and talented program. (Gallegly)
The Caucus has also identified the following as priority areas:
Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC7 on Jul 15, 1999
- School Construction Funding
- Alternative Teacher Certification
- School Violence
- Support of Title I of ESEA
- Gender Equity in Education
- School Counselors
Page last updated: Jan 28, 2017