Empowering Through Choice

Children are our nation's most valuable resource, and it is essential that every child has an equal opportunity to improve their future and develop to their fullest potential through a quality education.

Senator John Cornyn

As the father of two daughters educated in public schools, Senator Cornyn believes every child deserves the best start in life, and that means access to a first-class education system. He understands the necessity of helping all children achieve their potential and knows that good schools strengthen our society by giving young Texans a strong foundation to help them succeed as citizens and individuals.

Senator Cornyn understands the results we want for our children require accountability for education providers but that federal bureaucracy and red tape keep us from reaching it. That is why his efforts in the Senate are focused on providing states and local school districts the freedom to design innovative, educational programs that fit the needs of each child and individual school districts. He believes higher education provides individuals with opportunities for success and economic mobility, whether that means an associate’s degree, a workforce certification, or a bachelor’s degree and beyond.  For this reason, he has supported expanding aid for low-income students, increasing dual-credit or early college courses, and implementing market-based reforms to federal loan interest rates to help students and parents.


Floor Speeches and Videos

  • Appropriated more than $30 billion in emergency relief for education, including $2.6 billion for Texas
  • Urged the Department of Agriculture to issue waivers to allow child nutrition programs the flexibility to continue after the unexpected closure of schools and throughout remote learning
  • Introduced the ACCESS Internet Act to provide institutions like schools and libraries $2 billion for hotspots and connected devices for those who need them to learn and work
  • Authored the Eliminate the Digital Divide Act to build out broadband access in unserved areas and ensure transparency in and access to affordable broadband services for low-income individuals learning and working from home
  • Authored the Jenna Quinn Law (S.924,116th Congress) to increase training for sexual abuse prevention, recognition, and reporting to teachers and school employees, students, caregivers, and other adults who work with children.

  • Introduced the bipartisan Reaching English Learners Act (S.545,116th Congress) to develop new teacher preparation programs focusing on the instruction of English Language Learners, especially in areas of high-need. 

  • Introduced the GEAR UP for Success Act of 2019 which helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations to achieve the goals of increased post-secondary expectations and readiness, improve high school graduation rates and postsecondary enrollment rates, and raise awareness of postsecondary options among student and families.

  • Introduced the USA Civics Act which promotes improved civic education in schools by authorizing federal grants for colleges and universities to develop and improve programs focused on American history, free institutions, and the impact of American democracy – partnering with local education agencies to provide K-12 teachers with the resources they need for their own civics programs.

  • Introduced the Teachers and School LEADERS Act of 2019 which would better support school leaders and allow for greater innovation in educator preparation to make sure both our teachers and school leaders have the tools they need to most effectively support the needs of today’s students. 

  • Supported the Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria Education Relief Act of 2017, which was signed into law on September 29, 2017, to give the Secretary of Education the authority to waive certain federal matching requirements so schools can more easily get the funds they need to operate. This would benefit up to 18 higher education campuses in Texas.
    • Supported the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which scaled back the federal role in education under No Child Left Behind, and was signed into law on December 10, 2015. ESSA ends Common Core and represents the most significant devolution of federal control over education, returning many decisions back to states and local school districts. Many of Sen. Cornyn’s priorities were included in ESSA, including: strengthening the charter school program, restoring decision-making power to parents and teachers, and protecting the needs of English Language Learners. Sponsored an amendment included in ESSA to reauthorize the Education Flexibility Partnership Act to allow Texas and other states to waive requirements for federal education funding in exchange for improved education results and better accountability.
    • Supported ESSA to reauthorize the Small, Rural School Achievement Program and the Rural and Low-Income School Program. This will support expanded and improved services for children in rural areas by permitting rural school districts to combine federal funds to serve an increased number of students over a larger geographic area. ESSA also reauthorized the Impact Aid program, which provides dedicated financial support for school districts that are impacted by the military, and creates opportunities for veterans to enter the teaching profession.
  • Sponsored the New Hope and Opportunity through the Power of Employment (New HOPE) Act in the 115th Congress to encourage policies to help low-income, single mothers, veterans and those re-entering the workforce access the very professions most suitable to giving them a chance and meaningful work. This became law on July 31, 2018, as part of a larger Career and Technical Education package (H.R. 2353; P.L. 115-224)
  • Cosponsored the Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act in the 115th Congress which improves education and business partnerships in professional training and apprenticeships by awarding grants to technical schools, two-year colleges, and four-year universities in order to identify best practices for experiential learning opportunities, such as internships and apprenticeships, as well as online courses.   This bill became law on December 31, 2018.
  • Cosponsored the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education (CHOICE) Act of 2017, which provides low-income students, students with disabilities, and certain military dependents with scholarships to attend a school of their choice. 
  • Member of the Senate Community College Caucus, which supports the important role community colleges play in providing students with affordable access to higher education. 
  • Supported the Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act (P.L. 115-164, 115th Congress) which updated federal CTE policies to help students gain the knowledge and skills they need to compete for in-demand jobs. This legislation simplifies the application process for states to receive federal funds, improves states’ abilities to coordinate with local communities and employers, and increases effectiveness and accountability by streamlining CTE performance measures.
  • Voted for the Every Student Succeeds Act (P.L.114-95, 114th Congress), which blocks Common Core and puts parents and local officials in charge of education decision making. This landmark legislation was signed into law on December 10, 2015.

  • Supported the reinstitution of year-round Pell Grants in May 2017 to help low-income students accelerate their degrees and enter the job market earlier.

  • Supported the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (P.L.113-128, 113th Congress), which consolidated duplicative federal workforce training programs for adults, dislocated workers, and youth. The bill contained provisions from legislation Sen. Cornyn cosponsored, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act, and gives states greater flexibility to efficiently and effectively use federal and state funds to provide statewide employment and training activities. It was signed into law on July 22, 2014. 

  • Voted for the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 (P.L.113-28, 113th Congress), which provides market-based reforms of the broken federal student loan program to reduce interest rates for Texas college students.

  Return to All Issues