Dianne Feinstein on Education
Democratic Sr Senator (CA)
Foster educational inclusion as America grows more diverse
Senate Democrats sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticizing and demanding answers on affirmative action guidance that was rescinded by Sessions last month:
"While the law is clear and
unchanged--that diversity is a compelling government interest that permits race conscious admission--retracting this guidance will make it more challenging for school districts and colleges to understand your Departments' enforcement of the law to
ensure the institution is in compliance," the 21 senators wrote, led by Patty Murray & Dianne Feinstein.
They continued: "As our country continues to grow more diverse, we need policies that foster diversity and inclusion, not suppress them."
The information the Democrats want include who Sessions and DeVos consulted before making the decision to revoke the guidance and a list of the complaints of discrimination based on race or ethnicity from schools closed by the Department of Education.
Source: WAAY-TV ABC-31 on 2018 Trump Administration
, Aug 7, 2018
Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.
Vote on the passage of the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Pres. Bush then vetoed the Bill.
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 and 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 H.R. 3043
; vote number 2007-391
on Oct 23, 2007
Voted YES on $52M for "21st century community learning centers".
To increase appropriations for after-school programs through 21st century community learning centers. Voting YES would increase funding by $51.9 million for after school programs run by the 21st century community learning centers and would decrease funding by $51.9 million for salaries and expenses in the Department of Labor.
Reference: Amendment to Agencies Appropriations Act;
Bill S Amdt 2287 to HR 3010
; vote number 2005-279
on Oct 27, 2005
Voted YES on $5B for grants to local educational agencies.
To provide an additional $5 billion for title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Voting YES would provide:
Reference: Elementary and Secondary Education Amendment;
Bill S Amdt 2275 to HR 3010
; vote number 2005-269
on Oct 26, 2005
- $2.5 billion for targeting grants to local educational agencies
- $2.5 billion for education finance incentive grants
Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education.
Vote to adopt an amendment to the Senate's 2006 Fiscal Year Budget Resolution that would adjust education funding while still reducing the deficit by $5.4 billion. A YES vote would:
Reference: Kennedy amendment relative to education funding;
Bill S AMDT 177 to S Con Res 18
; vote number 2005-68
on Mar 17, 2005
- Restore education program cuts slated for vocational education, adult education, GEAR UP, and TRIO.
- Increase the maximum Pell Grant scholarship to $4,500 immediately.
- Increases future math and science teacher student loan forgiveness to $23,000.
- Pay for the education funding by closing $10.8 billion in corporate tax loopholes.
Voted YES on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors.
Vote to authorize a federal program aimed at reducing class size. The plan would assist states and local education agencies in recruiting, hiring and training 100,000 new teachers, with $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
; vote number 2001-103
on May 15, 2001
Voted YES on funding student testing instead of private tutors.
Vote to pass an amendment that would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace an amendment by Jeffords, R-VT, which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
; vote number 2001-99
on May 10, 2001
Voted YES on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction.
Vote to reduce the size of the $1.6 trillion tax cut by $448 billion while increasing education spending by $250 billion and providing an increase of approximately $224 billion for debt reduction over 10 years.
Bill H Con Res 83
; vote number 2001-69
on Apr 4, 2001
Voted YES on Educational Savings Accounts.
Vote to pass a bill that would permit tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses.
; vote number 2000-33
on Mar 2, 2000
Voted YES on declaring memorial prayers and religious symbols OK at schools.
Vote to declare that erecting religious symbols and praying on public school campuses as part of a memorial service does not violate the First Amendment to the Constitution, and to provide legal assistance to any government entity defending such a case.
; vote number 1999-121
on May 18, 1999
Voted NO on allowing more flexibility in federal school rules.
This vote was a motion to invoke cloture on a bill aimed at allowing states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. [A YES vote implies support of charter schools and vouchers].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)55; N)39; NV)6
Reference: Motion to Invoke cloture on Jeffords Amdt #31;
Bill S. 280
; vote number 1999-35
on Mar 9, 1999
Voted YES on education savings accounts.
This Conference Report approved tax-sheltered education savings accounts.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)36; NV)5
Reference: H.R. 2646 Conference Report;
Bill H.R. 2646
; vote number 1998-169
on Jun 24, 1998
Voted NO on school vouchers in DC.
This legislation would have amended the DC spending measure, imposing an unconstitutional school voucher program on the District.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)58; N)41; NV)1
Reference: DC Appropriations Act;
Bill S. 1156
; vote number 1997-260
on Sep 30, 1997
Voted NO on $75M for abstinence education.
Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Bill S 1956
; vote number 1996-231
on Jul 23, 1996
Voted NO on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.
Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
; vote number 1994-236
on Jul 27, 1994
Voted YES on national education standards.
Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act;
Bill H.R. 1804
; vote number 1994-34
on Feb 8, 1994
Offer every parent Charter Schools and public school choice.
Feinstein adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
Create World-Class Public Schools
Now more than ever, quality public education is the key to equal opportunity and upward mobility in America. Yet our neediest children often attend the worst schools. While lifting the performance of all schools, we must place special emphasis on strengthening those institutions serving, and too often failing, low-income students.
To close this achievement and opportunity gap, underperforming public schools need more resources, and above all, real accountability for results. Accountability means ending social promotion, measuring student performance with standards-based assessments, and testing teachers for subject-matter competency.
As we demand accountability, we should ensure that every school has the resources needed to achieve higher standards, including safe and modern physical facilities, well-paid teachers and staff, and opportunities for remedial help after school and during summers.
Parents, too, must accept greater responsibility for supporting their children’s education.
We need greater choice, competition, and accountability within the public school system, not a diversion of public funds to private schools that are unaccountable to taxpayers. With research increasingly showing the critical nature of learning in the early years, we should move toward universal access to pre-kindergarten education.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC2 on Aug 1, 2000
- Turn around every failing public school.
- Make charter schools an option in every state and community.
- Offer every parent a choice of public schools to which to send his or her child.
- Make sure every classroom has well-qualified teachers who know the subjects they teach, and pay teachers more for performance.
- Create a safe, clean, healthy, disciplined learning environment for every student.
- Make pre-kindergarten education universally available.
Three R’s: $35B for Reinvestment,Reinvention,Responsibility.
Feinstein co-sponsored the Senate New Democrat Coalition Press Release:
The Public Education Reinvestment, Reinvention and Responsibility Act (Three R's) [is] the common ground from which bipartisan compromise on education reform will be successfully achieved. The Three R’s would provide public schools with significantly increased funding and flexibility, increasing federal investment in education by $35 billion over the next 5 years, and targeting most of those new dollars toward closing the persistent achievement gap between poor and more affluent students. State & local officials would be given broader latitude to decide how to allocate federal funding in order to meet the specific needs of their communities. In return, states would be required to set standards for raising academic achievement, and improve the quality of their teachers.
The “Three R’s” bill is based on the policy recommendations by the Progressive Policy Institute:
Source: Senate New Democrat Coalition Press Release 01-SNDC5 on Jan 23, 2001
- Streamline our national education priorities into five goal-oriented titles, focused on:
- closing the
achievement gap between poor and more affluent children;
- helping to improve teacher quality;
- helping immigrant students master English and meet high standards in all subjects;
- promoting public school choice; and
- stimulating innovative local initiatives
- Create a tough new accountability system that pegs program funding to academic performance standards set by the states, and require “report cards” so that parents know how their school is performing;
- Reward states that exceed their standards with more flexibility and bonus funding, and for the first time ever, sanction those states that chronically fail to show improvements, by cutting administrative funds;
- Increase funding for disadvantaged students by 50%;
- Increase funding for teacher and principal professional development by more than 100%;
- Increase funding for immigrant students by $1 billion annually to improve English proficiency;
- Continue to reduce class size in the early grades.
Rated 91% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.
Feinstein scores 91% 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
Recruit women & minorities for STEM teaching.
Feinstein co-sponsored S2710 & HR4803
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-S2710 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.
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Dianne Feinstein on other issues:
Kevin de Leon
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Page last updated: Jul 13, 2020