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Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Representing the 13th District of California


Congresswoman Barbara Lee believes that equal access to high-quality, public school education is critical to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed.  Congresswoman Lee is dedicated to providing ample funding for public schools, expanding support services, including school counseling, and facilitating lifetime learning by making early education and higher education affordable and accessible.Congresswoman Lee

Congress must maximize student achievement and close the achievement gap between wealthy and poor students. To accomplish these goals, Congresswoman Lee supports investments to reduce class size, expand early childhood education and after school programs, and improve professional development for teachers. These investments are necessary to prepare our children for higher education and careers in the global economy.

Additionally, Congresswoman Lee believes that no student should have to give up his or her dream of achieving a higher education simply because it’s too expensive. For millions of students, college affordability is a key factor in accessing higher education. Because of this, Congresswoman Lee is a strong supporter of federal investments in education, including protecting access through Pell Grants, low student loan rates and student loan forgiveness. She is also a champion of minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which continue to provide quality education opportunities for communities of color.


  • Protecting Access to Higher Education through Pell Grants: The cost of higher education shouldn’t prevent hardworking students from getting a college diploma. The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based financial aid to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to college. Congresswoman Lee will continue to fight for increased funding for Pell Grants, which help millions of low- and middle-income families.Congresswoman Lee
  • Real Education for Healthy Youth Act: Congresswoman Lee firmly believes that all students should have access to potentially life-saving health and sex education programs. That is why she has introduced H.R. 725, a bill that authorizes grants for comprehensive sex-education programs so that American youth can make educated decisions about their health. This legislation, which is inclusive of LGBT students, would provide students with the information to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections, and would end federal spending on ineffective, medically inaccurate sex-education programs. 
  • Strong Support for Community Colleges: Community colleges provide opportunities for millions to continue their education in a flexible and affordable environment. Students attend community colleges for a range of reasons: as a first step to earning a bachelor’s degree, an opportunity to gain workforce training, or simply a chance to learn or improve a skill. As a result, community colleges are incredibly diverse and attract students from all walks of life. Congresswoman Lee is a strong advocate for community colleges and is committed to ensuring that they are fully funded.
  • Protecting Funding and Access to After School Programs: After school programs are of vital importance for the millions of working families who need a safe, enriching environment for their children after the school day ends. But right now in California, nearly a quarter of all kids lack adequate afterschool care. Ensuring that students have someplace to go after school is critical to improving our education system and the lives of working families.
  • Increasing Funding for Head Start:  Head Start is central to ensuring low-income children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed. That is why Congresswoman Lee is proud to cosponsor H.R. 3461, The Strong Start for America’s Children Act of 2013. This legislation would increase access to preschool for children of low-income families, fund Head Start and childcare programs, and would continue support for evidence-based home visitation programs. As a senior member of the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible for funding education programs like HeadStart, Congresswoman Lee will keep up the fight to provide all infants and toddlers with the education they deserve.


  • Federal Research Grants for UC Berkeley: The East Bay is a major center for education, research, and innovation. Congresswoman Lee has seen firsthand the value that these sectors bring to communities. She has long advocated for robust federal funding for the East Bay, including $950,000 from the National Science Foundation for three research projects on the UC Berkeley campus in 2013.
  • Improving and Expanding STEM Education Programs: The Bay Area’s reputation as the center of technological innovation is well-deserved. Northern California is engineering the technologies of the future, and making people’s lives more efficient, convenient, and comfortable. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in schools are critical to ensuring we continue to lead the world in innovation. Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House STEM education caucus, and has fought for programs like the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Act. In 2012, she was able to secure a $1 million increase for this program which supports diversity in STEM careers.




More on Education

May 30, 2014 In The News

In the Friday (May 30) edition of the journal Science, researchers find that early childhood development programs are particularly important for disadvantaged children in Jamaica and can greatly impact an individual's ability to earn more money as an adult.

May 19, 2014 In The News

Congresswoman Barbara Lee was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) during its 143rd commencement ceremony last weekend at the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church in Oakland.

The organization’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Congresswoman Lee’s nomination for this distinguished honor.

Mar 7, 2014 Op Eds and Blog

As the mother of two phenomenal black men, whom I raised as a single mother, I know personally why we need President Barack Obama's new initiative called My Brother's Keeper.

Young men of color in America have been left behind, the economic gains of our recovery aren't reaching them, and time and again, they are marginalized and forgotten.

Feb 14, 2014 In The News

A fourth candidate is now running to replace retiring Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan.

Helen Foster, who sits on the board of the San Lorenzo Unified School District and works as human resources director for the Hayward Unified School District, said she decided to enter the competitive race after being unimpressed by the pool of three announced contenders.

"It doesn't sound like they've got a clear platform of how they would improve on what is the status quo right now," Foster said.

Jan 17, 2014 In The News

In a Congress likely to be steeped in the politics of this year’s midterm elections, the Congressional Black Caucus said it will continue to fight for issues important for communities of color.

“We all know that 2013 was one of the least productive years in the history of the Congress,” said CBC Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) in a press call on Jan. 15. “Yet, the Congressional Black Caucus diligently worked on a number of issues and was successful in influencing policies that benefitted our communities and that would, but for us, be disregarded or completely ignored.”

Jan 8, 2014 In The News

Early in 2013, when Republicans on Capitol Hill expressed outrage over the lack of public access to the White House, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge said she had more pressing matters on her agenda.

“The millions who are the most vulnerable in the country are the ones taking a hit [because of government policies],” said Fudge (D-Ohio), who noted back in April that many Republicans were, “missing in action.”

Dec 11, 2013 In The News

Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California’s 14th district, discussed ways to ease the transition for former service members into civilian life during a meeting with UC Berkeley student-veterans Monday.

Speier, whose district includes localities such as South San Francisco and San Mateo, spoke to about 30 people in a question-and-answer event sponsored by the Cal Veterans Group. The event, located in the Cesar Chavez Center, was centered on ways to reintegrate student-veterans into campus life, according to UC Berkeley senior and the organization’s Vice President Mike Drake.

Oct 17, 2013 In The News

Every since 14-year-old San Francisco Bay area resident Helen Kassa started her global leadership project at the age of eight, supporting underserved school children in Ethiopia, she dreamed of the day she could meet Michelle Obama and tell her about her project, Giving Hope to Kids Like Me, and how Mrs. Obama inspired her to keep pushing ahead. Helen, who wants to go to Harvard, was thrilled with a dream-come-true opportunity when her mentor, a Harvard Law School alumnae of Michelle Obama—Dr.

Oct 8, 2013 In The News

The California Social Work Hall of Distinction honored six social work leaders on Saturday for their distinguished career achievements and exceptional contributions to social welfare in California, including USC School of Social Work alumni Ismael Dieppa, DSW ’73, and Mariko Yamada, MSW ‘74. The 2013 class also included Congresswoman Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Social Work Caucus, who recently earned President Barack Obama’s nomination for United States representative to the United Nations.

Sep 20, 2013 Op Eds and Blog

Former Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chair Rep. Barbara Lee is among the dozens of international leaders who convened at the United Nation’s 68th General Assembly Session in New York this week.

Earlier this month, President Obama nominated the California Democrat to represent the United States at the annual gathering, where the 193 member states deliberate on issues and make policies.

Lee’s nomination made her the first African-American woman to serve in this capacity.