Corrine Brown on Education
Democratic Representative (FL-3)
Voted NO on reauthorizing the DC opportunity scholarship program.
Congressional Summary:The SOAR Act award five-year grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations to carry out an expanded school choice opportunities to students who are District of Columbia residents and who come from households:
Provides funds to the Mayor of DC, if the Mayor agrees to specified requirements, for:
- receiving assistance under the supplemental nutrition assistance program; or
- with incomes not exceeding 185% of the poverty line.
- the DC public schools to improve public education, and
- the DC public charter schools to improve and expand quality public charter schools.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Rep. Bishop, R-UT]: In 1996, Congress insisted upon a charter school program in DC. You will hear from both sides of the aisle recognition of the great value that that program has, and justifiably so. There is a waiting list in DC for those charter schools.
This bill increases the percentage of funding going to charter schools in the District. In 2003, an Opportunity Scholarship was instituted, at the insistence of Congress. Again, there was a waiting list of people wanting the opportunity; disadvantaged kids who wanted the opportunity that this scholarship afforded them. There were 216 kids at the time scheduled to enter the program who were not allowed; the bill remedies that.
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
Reference: Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Act (SOAR);
; vote number 11-HV200
on Mar 30, 2011
[Rep. Hastings, D-FL]: In the last 41 years voters have rejected private school vouchers every time they have been proposed. In 1981, 89% of the people in a referendum in DC voted against vouchers. So how dare we come here to tell these people that we are going to thrust upon them something they don't want without a single public official in this community being consulted. Congress' oversight of the District is not an excuse for political pandering to the Republicans' special interest of the day du jour.
Voted YES on $40B for green public schools.
Congressional Summary:Make grants to states for the modernization, renovation, or repair of public schools, including early learning facilities and charter schools, to make them safe, healthy, high-performing, and technologically up-to-date.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes: Rep. BETSY MARKEY (D, CO-4): This legislation will improve the learning environment for our children, reduce energy costs and create new jobs across the country. Green schools not only save school districts money but also teach the importance of sustainable living to children at a young age.
Opponent's argument to vote No:
Rep. GLENN THOMPSON (R, PA-5): We all know our Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. The bill we're debating today would add an estimated $40 billion in new spending. And despite the majority's hollow promises of fiscal responsibility, there's nothing in the legislation to offset this hefty price tag with spending reductions elsewhere. This is just more of the same borrow and spend, spend and borrow policy that we've seen under this majority and this administration.
Reference: 21st Century Green Schools Act;
; vote number 2009-H259
on May 14, 2009
Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.
Veto override on the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and Labor. Original bill passed & was then vetoed by the President.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle,
this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority & duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.
Veto message from President Bush:
This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.
Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act;
Bill Veto override on H.R. 3043
; vote number 2007-1122
on Nov 15, 2007
Voted YES on allowing Courts to decide on "God" in Pledge of Allegiance.
Amendment to preserve the authority of the US Supreme Court to decide any question pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill underlying this amendment would disallow any federal courts from hearing cases concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. This amendment would make an exception for the Supreme Court.
Proponents support voting YES because:
I believe that our Pledge of Allegiance with its use of the phrase "under God" is entirely consistent with our Nation's cultural and historic traditions. I also believe that the Court holding that use of this phrase is unconstitutional is wrong. But this court-stripping bill is not necessary. This legislation would bar a Federal court, including the Supreme Court, from reviewing any claim that challenges the recitation of the Pledge on first amendment grounds.
If we are a Nation of laws, we must be committed to allowing courts to decide what the law is. This bill is unnecessary and probably unconstitutional.
It would contradict the principle of Marbury v. Madison, intrude on the principles of separation of powers, and degrade our independent Federal judiciary.
Opponents support voting NO because:
I was disappointed 4 years ago when two judges of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that our Pledge, our statement of shared national values, was somehow unconstitutional. I do not take legislation that removes an issue from the jurisdiction of this court system lightly. This legislation is appropriate, however, because of the egregious conduct of the courts in dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance.
By striking "under God" from the Pledge, the Court has shown contempt for the Congress which approved the language, and, more importantly, shows a complete disregard for the millions of Americans who proudly recite the Pledge as a statement of our shared national values and aspirations. No one is required to recite the Pledge if they disagree with its message.
Reference: Watt amendment to Pledge Protection Act;
Bill H R 2389
; vote number 2006-384
on Jul 19, 2006
Voted YES on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.
This vote is on a substitute bill (which means an amendment which replaces the entire text of the original bill). Voting YES means support for the key differences from the original bill: lowering student loan interest rates; $59 million for a new Predominantly Black Serving Institution program; $25 million for a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program; provide for year- round Pell grants; and repeal the Single Lender rule. The substitute's proponents say: The original bill has some critical shortcomings. First and foremost, this substitute will cut the new Pell Grant fixed interest rate in half from 6.8% to 3.4%, to reduce college costs to those students most in need.It would also establish a new predominantly black-serving institutions programs to boost college participation rates for low-income black students, and a new graduate Hispanic-serving institution program.As we saw from 1995 to 2000, the questions employers were asking was not your race, not your ethnicity, not your
religion, they wanted to know if you had the skills and talents to do the job. Most often today, those skills and that talent requires a higher education. A college education is going to have to become as common as a high school education.
The substitute's opponents say:
Reference: Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act;
Bill HR 609 Amendment 772
; vote number 2006-080
on Mar 30, 2006
- I feel it is not totally the Federal Government's responsibility to provide for all of higher education. The substitute has three critical flaws.
- 1.The name itself, "Reverse the Raid on Student Aid." Don't believe the hype. Not one student in America will receive less financial aid under our bill. Not one.
- 2. This amendment does not retain the $6,000 maximum Pell Grant award that our legislation has. In fact, they stay with the same old $5,800 maximum award.
- 3. It says that we are going to have a 3.4% interest rate for 1 year that is going to cost $2.7 billion, but it has no offsets whatsoever. How do they pay for it? They don't tell us.
Voted NO on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror.
Children's Prayers Resolution: Expressing the sense of Congress that schools should allow children time to pray for, or silently reflect upon, the country during the war against terrorism.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Isakson, R-GA;
; vote number 2001-445
on Nov 15, 2001
Voted YES on requiring states to test students.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would authorize $22.8 billion in education funding, a 29 percent increase from fiscal 2001. The bill would require states to test students to track progress.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Boehner R-OH;
Bill HR 1
; vote number 2001-145
on May 23, 2001
Voted NO on allowing vouchers in DC schools.
Vote to create a non-profit corporation to administer federally-funded vouchers for low-income children in the District of Columbia.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Armey, R-TX;
Bill HR 4380
; vote number 1998-411
on Aug 6, 1998
Voted NO on vouchers for private & parochial schools.
Vote to pass a bill to allow states to use certain federal funds designated for elementary and secondary education to provide scholarships, or vouchers, to low-income families to send their children to private schools, including religious schools.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Riggs, R-CA;
Bill HR 2746
; vote number 1997-569
on Nov 4, 1997
Voted NO on giving federal aid only to schools allowing voluntary prayer.
Motion to add language to the "Goals 2000: Educate America Act" to give federal aid only to schools allowing voluntary prayer.
Bill HR 1804
; vote number 1994-85
on Mar 23, 1994
Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.
Brown scores 100% by the NEA on public education issues
The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:
To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education."
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003
$25B to renovate or repair elementary schools.
Brown 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.
Sponsored 10/10 Loan Forgiveness: cancel college loans after 10 years.
Brown 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.
Supported funding for teacher training & other initiatives.
Brown 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 23, 2017