Education | Congressman Ami Bera

Congressman Ami Bera

Representing the 7th District of California
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As an educator and a parent, I recognize the importance of investing in future generations, and supporting education is one of my top priorities in Congress.  Strengthening our public schools is crucial to our nation’s success.  Our children should not on

As an educator and a parent, I recognize the importance of investing in future generations, and supporting education is one of my top priorities in Congress. Strengthening our public schools is crucial to our nation’s success. Our children should not only be good test takers, but also thoughtful and innovative citizens. We need to let teachers teach, encourage more parental involvement, reduce class sizes, and make college more affordable. 

I went to California public schools from kindergarten through medical school, and my mother is a retired public school teacher. I earned my B.S. and M.D. from the University of California, Irvine, putting myself through medical school while working part-time and taking advantage of federally-funded student loans, and graduated with less than $10,000 in debt. My country made an investment in me, and I’m working to ensure we make that same investment in the next generation so that they can pursue the American Dream.

• Supporting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education
• Making College Affordable
• Investing in Public Schools (K-12)
• Promoting Early Childhood Education


Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education

Presenting a certificate of congressional recognition to San Juan High School, a great local example of a school that prepares its students well for today’s global economy.

We must ensure that our students are ready for the jobs of the 21st century. As a doctor and a former associate dean of admissions at University of California-Davis Medical School, I know first-hand the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Ensuring our students excel in STEM subjects, and preparing them for future studies and careers in those fields, is essential to our nation’s prosperity and economic competitiveness.

• Supporting STEM in the Science, Space, and Technology Committee: As a member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, supporting STEM education is one of my priorities.  Here’s one STEM focused hearing where I welcomed representatives from both Intel and Project Lead the Way, two organizations who are working locally to prepare our young people for tomorrow’s jobs:

Stepping up to STEM Act: I’m cosponsoring the Stepping Up to STEM Act to make sure STEM education is a national priority.  This bill would create an Office of STEM Education to promote STEM excellence and encourage cooperation with the private sector to strengthen STEM in our schools.

The National Science Foundation: The National Science Foundation provides research grants to both UC Davis and Sacramento State and helps our college students become the next generation of engineers, scientists, and inventors.  I’m pushing to invest in the National Science Foundation so we can continue to lay a foundation for an innovative economy.

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Making College Affordable

Far too many students are burdened by huge student loan debts and I am committed to making college more affordable for our students.  We need to do more to address student debt and work to bring down the skyrocketing cost of education so that we aren’t pricing students out of the American Dream.

Student Loan Certainty Act.  I voted to pass the Student Loan Certainty Act, which is now law, to ensure that students can have security and peace of mind as they budget for college.  It caps interest rates on federal loans for college students, and also fixes these rates for the life of the loan. 

Pell Grants.  No one should be denied college simply because they can’t afford it.  Pell Grants are crucial for making sure that 9.7 million modest income college students can afford tuition, books, and housing.  I am pushing to invest in Pell Grants in Congress so that every American student can realize their full potential.

How I Can Help: My local office in Rancho Cordova specializes in helping my constituents access the first-rate services they have a right to expect, and that includes accessing college financial aid programs.  If you are considering college or are currently enrolled, I hope you will click here to learn more.

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Investing in Public Schools (K-12)

With my mother, who is now a retired public elementary school teacher.

The federal government has an important role to play in making improvements to our K-12 public school system. Our children should not only be good test takers, but also thoughtful and innovative citizens. We need to let teachers teach, encourage more parental involvement, and reduce class sizes. Congress needs to continue investing in our public schools to keep the American dream alive for the next generation.

That’s why I voted against a short-sighted and partisan bill that would have made our education system far worse, H.R. 5. This bill would have made devastating cuts to education funding, eliminated funding for after-school programs, eliminated requirements to ensure the professional development of teachers, and would have even removed standards to help make sure that students graduate from high school.

Strengthening our schools is one of the surest ways to grow our economy and build a strong middle class. This is why when Congress debated H.R. 5, I supported an alternative to this legislation that would prioritize education funding so schools can get the support they need. It also included resources to ensure that our students get the well-rounded education they require – everything from learning science, to P.E., to foreign languages – so we can have educated, happy, and healthy young people who are ready to join the middle class.

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Promoting Early Childhood Education

Visiting with teachers and students at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Center in Rancho Cordova.
Visiting with teachers and students at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Center in Rancho Cordova.

Early childhood education is a key pillar of a child’s long-term academic success. Children who have quality teaching before they turn five years old come to kindergarten prepared and ready to learn, allowing them to do better later in school and throughout their lives. I strongly support Early Childhood education to give our young people the greatest chance to succeed.

 Providing Resources Early for Kids (PRE-K) Act: I’m supporting the PRE-K Act to create a new federal and state partnership to expand access to preschool nationwide. The bill would also help provide resources so states like California can enhance and improve their pre-school programs. 

• Head Start: The Head Start initiative is the most successful, longest-running national school readiness program in our country. I strongly support investing in Head Start so that all American children can access early education, health, and nutrition services.

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More on Education

Dec 21, 2015 Ami's Updates

I sent an email update on Monday about some of the new bipartisan successes of 2015. Join my email updates now so you don't miss any in the future!

Nov 17, 2015 Press Release

Sacramento, CA – Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. announced a $100,000 grant awarded to Sacramento City Unified School District for its farm to school program.  

Jan 25, 2015 Page
Do you support the President’s new proposal for making community college tuition-free? Take my survey to share your thoughts.
Dec 17, 2014 Page

As you may know, the University of California regents recently voted to raise tuition for students as much as 28 percent over the next 5 years. I'm extremely disappointed by this vote that breaks the promise of an affordable education for many students.

Nov 21, 2014 Press Release

Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. released the following statement in response to the University of California (UC) tuition hike that Regents voted on earlier today:

Aug 27, 2014 In The News

A collective gasp filled the air of the Elliott Ranch Elementary School multipurpose room Wednesday morning as the countdown to a live downlink with the International Space Station began.

“It looks like they are flying over the United States of America right now,” announced Principal Brian MacNeill, at the 30-second mark. He pointed toward a screen showing a view of the Earth from the space station.

The 364 students assembled at the Elk Grove school squirmed, whispered and giggled in anticipation. They had been waiting for this for weeks.

May 2, 2014 In The News

U.S. Rep. Dr. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) told government students at two Elk Grove high schools that local leaders should set education standards.

“I feel very strongly that states and even local school districts are better at setting educational standards,” Bera said. “There should be some national standards, but that should be a foundation.”

He added, “I’m always going to be a strong proponent of local control of education.”

May 1, 2014 In The News

Two California congressmen, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera and Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, said Thursday that they have formed a bipartisan caucus to advocate for the state's public universities and students.

Bera and Denham announced the California Public Higher Education Caucus on Thursday, consisting of 31 members of the state's congressional delegation.

May 1, 2014 Press Release

Congressmen Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-7), and Jeff Denham (CA-10), announced earlier today the creation of the California Public Higher Education Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress who will advocate for the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) schools and their students and support improvements to the quality, affordability, and accessibility of California’s public higher education system.

Apr 25, 2014 Page

California State University, Sacramento

As an educator and a parent, I am proud that the Sacramento County region boasts a number of distinguished colleges and universities that are helping to build tomorrow’s high-skilled workforce.  Our higher education institutions are crucial for reinvigorating our local economy and strengthening the middle class.