John Larson on Education

Last Updated : Jun 14, 2012

Campaign Website Statements

Education is the most important predictor of individual financial success. It’s also the key to America’s long-term success in a 21st-century economy. Yet too many American families worry that they won’t be able to afford to invest in the opportunity higher education provides. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a former teacher and life-long educator, John is proud to have helped pass the largest investment in student aid in history – at no expense to taxpayers. By ending costly subsidies to banks, those savings have been invested into making higher education more affordable through increased Pell Grants and lower interest rates for student loans. John also championed the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help over 9 million families afford to send their children to college. John believes that our nation must invest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to ensure that our students have the skills necessary to meet the future needs of our workforce. STEM skills are necessary for jobs in the fastest growing sectors of our economy and will help ensure America’s global competitiveness. John has fought to secure STEM resources for students in Connecticut and ensure it is a priority nationwide.

Voting Record

College Cost Reduction and Access Act

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act is a significant education bill dealing largely with funding for higher education. The bill removes tuition sensitivity for Pell Grants, increases the amount available for Pell grants, Funds the Upward Bound program, establishes the TEACH Grants, reduces student loan repayment rates, sets deferments based on need and establishes some partner based grants. The bill got a great deal of support in the Senate and passed easily. Tim Johnson cast a "No Vote"

Standards vs Tutors

Again in 2001, the Senate voted on another amendment which would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace a previous amendment which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors. The amendment was widely supported by Democrats, but widely opposed by Republicans. It failed to pass in a 50-47 vote. Tim Johnson voted in favor of the amendment and supported developing standards over private tutors.

Tim Johnson voted in favor of the amendment and supported developing standards over private tutors.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

No Child Left Behind was the primary focus of the Bush administration prior to 9/11. The bill requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools. The Act does not assert a national achievement standard; standards are set by each individual state. The bill got the support of all but 2 Democrats and all but 6 Republicans and passed the Senate in a 91-8 vote. Tim Johnson voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Tim Johnson voted in favor of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

Amendment - Voucher Program

In June 2001, Senator Gregg introduced an amendment to create a test voucher program for low income students in failing schools. The program would have been in 10 cities and three states. Tim Johnson voted against the voucher program.

Tim Johnson voted against the voucher program.

Teachers vs Tutors

In 2001, the Senate voted on an amendment to the Better Education for Students and Teachers Act which would have provided $2.4 billion in funding in fiscal 2002 for state and local services to hire up to 100,00 additional teachers. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors. Every Democrat that voted supported the amendment, and every Republican that voted opposed the amendment. Tim Johnson voted in favor of the amendment and supported hiring teachers over tutors.

Tim Johnson voted in favor of the amendment and supported hiring teachers over tutors.

Affordable Education Act of 2000

The Affordable Education Act of 2000 was voted on in early 2000. Among other things, the bill would have allowed tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses. The bill passed the Senate in a 61-37 vote. Tim Johnson voted against the Affordable Education Act of 2000.

Tim Johnson voted against the Affordable Education Act of 2000.

Rules Waiver

In 1999, the Senate voted on an amendment to the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 which would have allowed states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. A vote in favor of the amendment would have signified support for vouchers and school choice. Every Democrat that voted opposed the amendment, and every Republican that voted supported the amendment. Tim Johnson voted against the amendment and opposed school choice.

Tim Johnson voted against the amendment and opposed school choice.

Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998

This 1998 legislation would have allowed people to take money from their IRAs to pay for qualified elementary and secondary education expenses, including home schooling expenses. It increased the annual contribution limit from $500 to $2,000. It permits corporations to contribute to education IRAs. Although the bill passed in the Senate easily, it was vetoed by the President. Tim Johnson voted against the Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Tim Johnson voted against the Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998

In 1998, the Education Savings Act for Public and Private Schools Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998 attempted to create tax-sheltered educational savings accounts. Although the bill got a majority of the votes, it did not get the numbers needed and failed to pass with the support of most Republicans, but the opposition of most Democrats. Tim Johnson voted against the Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Tim Johnson voted against the Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998.

Amendment - Vouchers in DC

In 1999, the Senate voted on an amendment to the DC appropriations bill that would have installed a voucher system to allow students to choose to attend a private school, or any school other than their assigned public school. The measure failed to get the votes it needed with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats voting in opposition to it. Tim Johnson voted against the DC voucher system.

Tim Johnson voted against the DC voucher system.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 250; Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to replace the hope scholarship and lifetime learning tax credits with a higher education opportunity tax credit.Allows a higher education opportunity tax credit for the lesser of: (1) the sum of 100% of qualified tuition and related expenses (including a certain allowance for books) up to $2,000, 50% for such expenses between $2,000 and $4,000, and 25% of such expenses between $4,000 and $8,000; or (2) the excess (if any) of $16,000 over aggregate credits from prior taxable years. Reduces credit amounts for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross incomes over $70,000 ($140,000 in the case of a joint return). Limits such credit to three eligible students per taxpayer in any taxable year. Denies such tax credit to certain part time students and students convicted of a felony drug offense.Repeals the tax deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 761; America COMPETES Act - Cosponsor

A bill to invest in innovation and education to improve the competitiveness of the United States in the global economy.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 1367; Teach for America Grant - Cosponsor

Authorizes the Secretary of Education to award a grant to Teach For America, Inc. to implement and expand its program of recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting new teachers.

Session-106; Bill Number-S 1487; Excellence in Economic Education Act of 1999 - Cosponsor

Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to establish a program for excellence in economic education under title X (Programs of National Significance).

Session-106; Bill Number-S 505; Gifted and Talented Students Education Act of 1999 - Cosponsor

Authorizes the Secretary of Education to make grants to States for use by public schools to develop or expand gifted and talented education programs through one or more of the following activities: (1) professional development programs; (2) technical assistance; (3) direct services and materials for gifted and talented students, through revised curricula, acceleration, independent study, dual enrollment or other strategies; (4) innovative approaches and curricula; and (5) emerging technologies, including distance learning.

User Comments