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As a senior member of the House Committee on Education and Labor and former San Diego School Board member, Susan believes education is one of the most important investments we can make in our people.  Every American deserves a quality education, and our country’s future depends upon it.  By working together to strengthen our education system, we can increase economic opportunity at home and our global competitiveness abroad.

Susan is pushing for a greater focus on issues of fairness and high-quality standards, including increased access to early education, efforts to make college more affordable and help students pay off their loans. Recognizing quality teachers are key to successful students, Susan is pushing for funding recruit and train new teachers and principals, and provide teachers with opportunities for professional development.  Smart fiscal responsibility shouldn’t hurt our students and schools, which are directly responsible for our country’s future.  That is why Susan continues to support funding for crucial education initiatives like pre-k for all, Pell Grants for college students, IDEA for disabled children, Impact Aid for military students, and Title I funds for disadvantaged children.

Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee

Susan is Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee. Davis’s priorities for the Subcommittee are increasing access to a college degree, equal opportunity in education and the workplace, student safety, and emphasizing career and technical training – especially for women.

Ending No Child Left Behind

Susan supported the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act to end No Child Left Behind (NCLB), return local control back to states, and maintain the spirit of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by ensuring equal access to education for all children.

The final bill included language from Davis’s Helping Military Children Succeed in School Act, to allow schools and districts to effectively track the performance of students of military families. This will provide the data needed to address the diverse challenges military children face.

Susan fought against efforts to cut funding that would have hurt low-income and disadvantaged students. Cuts to this funding, known as Title I funding, could have resulted in widening the achievement gap. The Every Student Succeeds Act maintains equal access to education for all students.

Increasing Access to Pre-K

Today, only 69 percent of 4-year-old children in America are enrolled in early childhood education programs. That troubling statistic places the United States near the bottom in terms of access to prekindergarten among our advanced country peers.  In our modern global economy, that means many American children start behind when they can least afford to. 

Susan introduced legislation to provide access to Pre-K education for low- and middle-income families. The EARLY (Expanded Access to Real Learning for our Young) Act would set up a partnership between states and the federal government to make Pre-K education available to millions of children at no cost.

Extensive research into early education has determined that a quality program not only improves the academic success of the student but it reduces the potential for future involvement in a crime.

Supporting Educators

Dedicated teachers go hand-in-hand with student learning and student success.  Susan is calling for renewed efforts to recruit a new generation of inspirational teachers and principals.  As a sign of our commitment, she believes that we should start by giving our educators the respect and compensation they deserve.

Teacher Diversity - Across the country, students of color make up 40 percent of the public high school population, yet teachers of color make up just 17 percent of the teaching force. Research has shown a diversity in teaching to produce more favorable academic results for students of color, particularly in raising test scores, improving attendance, increasing enrollment in advanced level courses, and boosting college-going rates. Susan introduced the Diverse Teacher Recruitment Act to help school districts to design and implement recruiting programs to bring teachers from underrepresented groups into the classroom. She also worked with the Obama Administration to hold a summit on teacher diversity. The Obama White House held two events on the importance of increasing diversity in teaching and on ways to make that happen.

Principal Recruitment and Training - An inspirational principal at the helm can make an enormous difference in a school’s direction.  Currently, only five percent of federal funding for teacher preparation goes toward principle training. This legislation would provide resources for communities to recruit and train a new generation of strong school leaders with the ability to inspire academic success and turn around struggling schools.

Higher Education

When it comes to helping college students, Susan has long played an important role in higher education policy.  As a product of the University of California system, Susan understands the value of public investments in higher education and the message it sends to our students.  If we don’t invest in them by making college affordable, then our students may feel less obligated to give back in the future.

With tuitions on the rise and student debt reaching record numbers, Susan is fighting to make college more affordable. She is pushing for a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act with a top priority of college affordability.

Susan is sponsoring a number of bills to provide relief to graduates burdened by a mountain of debt.

  • The Fee Free Student Loan Act eliminates administration fees on federal student loans, which are nothing more than a hidden tax. This would save students over $1.5 billion per year.
  • The Student Loan Fair Payment Act requires that extra payments made on a student loan must go toward paying down the principal of the loan. Currently, borrowers able to pay a little extra toward their loan are seeing that money applied to interest. When President Obama announced his Student Bill of Rights in March, the Student Loan Fair Payment Act was a part of his executive order.

Susan is an original cosponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act to allow the refinancing of student loans. Under the bill, borrowers of undergraduate student loans could refinance to an interest rate of 3.86 percent. Currently, some student loan borrowers are stuck with interest rates as high as 8 percent on their existing loans. If enacted, over 2.3 million borrowers in California would benefit from the ability to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates

Susan has also worked hard to make sure student service members have access to higher education by supporting the Post 9/11 GI Benefit and by passing legislation to block student loan fees in the event of deployments.

When learning that servicemembers were paying over $100 million on student loan interest when they were supposed to be exempt from such payments, Susan passed legislation to fix it. Interest on student loans for troops is supposed to be waived when a servicemember is deployed to areas of hostilities. However, many servicemembers are not aware of such a waiver. Davis passed legislation as part of the national defense bill to put a plan of action in place to prevent the overpayments. 

Keeping Students Safe

A school campus should be a place of learning, discovery and looking toward the future. All students should feel their campus is a safe and nurturing place. Susan is working to ensure that students are safe at school.

Susan has introduced legislation in the House to establish an independent advocate on campus for sexual assault survivors. The Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act requires higher education institutions receiving federal assistance to create an Independent Advocate for Campus Sexual Assault Prevention and Response.

The advocate will provide assistance to survivors on reporting the assault to law enforcement, getting medical care and counseling, and obtaining legal services. The advocate office will also coordinate awareness and prevention programs.

Both the California State University and University of California systems have created such an office.

Susan is leading an effort in Congress to use the Stanford rape survivor letter to combat campus sexual assault. In a letter to the heads of the California State University and University of California systems, members of the California congressional delegation urged that the letter be added to consent education curriculums.  The CSU has since said it will use the letter in its effort to prevent campus sexual assault.

The House passed Susan's legislation to protect our kids from sex trafficking. The Empower Educators to Prevent Trafficking Act would help school districts train school staff to detect the signs that children are falling victim to sex trafficking. Susan's initiative will provide resources to school districts to establish a training program or help schools expand an existing program. The House unanimously passed Susan's bill. 


NCLB puts a heavy emphasis on academic performance on tests, but Susan recognizes that children still need emotional support and strong role models.  For a long time, there has been a mentoring gap in our country that leaves millions of children without a role model.  As Co-Chair of the House Mentoring Caucus, Susan supports school-based mentoring programs to pair students in need with a responsible adult for guidance and inspiration.

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