Donna Christensen on Education
Delegate to US House (VI-AL)
Teacher development grants to improve math & science classes.
Christensen co-sponsored the National Improvement in Mathematics and Science Teaching Act:
Title: To improve the quality and scope of science and mathematics education.
Summary: Directs the Secretary of Education to:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR117 on Jan 3, 2001
- make grants to States for improvement and recruitment of quality teachers in science and mathematics education;
- make grants to States for professional development of mathematics and science teachers;
- establish 15 John Glenn Academies, for summer workshops and intensive, year-long fellowships for 3,000 individuals to prepare them to meet State certification requirements;
- establish and operate a National Clearinghouse of Best Practices to coordinate successful and proven professional development opportunities for teachers;
- make grants to improve science and mathematics education, and encourage more students to enter the fields of mathematics, science, and technology;
- make grants to promote both achievement equity and gender equity in mathematics and science education;
- establish a tax credit for businesses that employ science, mathematics, and technology teachers in summer fellowships related to their fields of teaching; and
- establish a fair market value tax deduction for charitable contributions of science, mathematics, or technology equipment to public elementary and secondary schools.
Comprehensive sex ed for sexually-active adolescents.
Christensen 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.
Christensen 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.
Supports a Constitutional Amendment for school prayer.
Christensen co-sponsored a resolution for a School Prayer Amendment:
H.J.RES.52 (2001), H.J.RES.66 (1999), S.J.RES. 1, H.J.RES.12, H. J. RES. 108, & H. J. RES. 55:
Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any State to participate in prayer . Neither the United States nor any State shall compose the words of any prayer to be said in public schools.H. J. RES. 78 (1997):
To secure the people's right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any State shall establish any official religion, but the people's right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including
schools, shall not be infringed. Neither the United States nor any State shall require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion.
Source: H.J.Res.78 97-HJR78 on May 8, 1997
- H.J.RES.52, School Prayer Amendment, 6/13/2001 (Murtha)
- H.J.RES.12, School Prayer Amendment, 2/7/2001 (Emerson)
- S.J.RES.1, School Prayer Amendment, 1/22/2001 (Thurmond)
- H.J.RES.108, Voluntary School Prayer Amendment, 9/21/2000 (Graham)
- H.J.RES.55, Voluntary School Prayer Amendment, 2/13/1997 (Stearnes, Hall, Watts)
- H.J.RES.78, Amendment Restoring Religious Freedom, 5/8/1997 (Istook, et. al.)
Supported funding for teacher training & other initiatives.
Christensen 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 27, 2017