Education is the key to the long-term prosperity of our children, the state of Maryland, and our country in a 21st century global economy. Below are just a few examples of how I’m working to strengthen education in Maryland and across the country:
After-School Meal Program
I added Maryland to the list of only 9 other states that, at the time, received funding to provide dinner to students on the free and reduced-lunch program who participate in after-school programs. Many students who only received one nutritious meal are now able to have a dinner that helps support their health, development, and ability to learn during a time when families are struggling financially.
Student Financial Aid
I voted and was a strong advocate for the final version of the health care reform law that included the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) — the single largest investment in college aid in history. It reforms the federal student loan system, saving taxpayers $61 billion over 10 years and invests $36 billion in Pell Grants. SAFRA also invests $2.55 billion in historically black colleges, universities, and minority-serving institutions, and invests $2 billion for community colleges to develop and improve educational or career training programs. These changes will allow 8 million students to more easily afford student loans and apply for larger Pell Grants.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – STEM Learning and Innovation
While Maryland ranks number one for its public school system, educational disparities continue to exist. One such disparity is in science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) education. That is why I have time in Congress focused on advancing initiatives and investments in the STEM fields.
In the COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, I was able to include an amendment that gives special consideration to under-represented minorities and teachers in high-need schools when determining fellowship grants. This amendment is another step in the right direction to ensure that educational opportunities are available to all our children, regardless of race or economic background.
I also hosted an event in Washington, DC, encouraging our young people to pursue STEM fields. Attendees heard from a variety of experts on how to work together to get involved in the STEM fields, find STEM talent, build the STEM workforce, and form successful models and partnerships.
I will continue to work on the Science, Space and Technology Committee to encourage students in the 4th Congressional District and across the country to follow career paths in the STEM fields.