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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

Nov 9, 2015 Press Release

Oakland, CA – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a member of the education funding subcommittee, released this statement marking the 50th anniversary of the Higher Education Act:

“For fifty years, the Higher Education Act has opened the doors of educational opportunity to millions by making college more accessible and affordable. 

As we mark this milestone anniversary, Congress must come together and recommit to strengthening and expanding affordable educational opportunities for all.  We must start by reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.

Sep 2, 2015 Press Release

Oakland, CA - Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) announced a $16,470,400 federal grant awarded to the City of Oakland to support Head Start and Early Head Start Programs.  The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Jul 31, 2015 Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today, President Obama announced a Second Chance Pell pilot program to test new models which would allow incarcerated Americans to receive Pell grants and pursue postsecondary education. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who has long championed this effort as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, released this statement:

“I applaud the President’s action in announcing this important pilot program. 

May 14, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, it was reported that student loan interest rates for 2015-2016 school year would decrease for students and their families.

May 13, 2015 Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and other progressive leaders in launching the Progressive Agenda. She released this statement:

“It’s an honor and privilege to join so many Governors, Senators, Members of Congress, Mayors – including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf – labor leaders and other progressive champions in renewing our commitment to an economy that works for everyone, not just a select few.