"A quality education is the foundation for success. We must ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed."  -Congressman Silvestre Reyes

Congressman Reyes works in Congress to ensure that all Americans have access to high quality education and that schools are accountable to students, parents, and taxpayers. Although the vast majority of funds for public schools come from local and state taxes with federal funds accounting for a much smaller percentage, Congressman Reyes believes that federal government has a critical role in assisting states to develop high education standards and supplementing state funding efforts with targeted programs.

Since his election to the House of Representatives, Congressman Reyes has made education a top priority, fighting for El Paso schools and regularly meeting with principals, teachers, counselors, students and parents to hear their concerns.  Congressman Reyes relies on input from El Paso school superintendents and brings leaders like Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, then Chairman of the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competiveness, to El Paso to hear from local leaders.

Support Public Schools and Teachers

Congressman Reyes strongly supports providing robust funding for Title I, IDEA, Impact Aid, and other federally created programs that support under-served, special education, or military students and has fought off efforts to decrease formula funding.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Funding - The economic downturn put a great strain on state budgets and shortfalls threatened massive cuts to critical education programs and services, and Congressman Reyes supported the ARRA economic stimulus measure to make needed investments while helping maintain jobs during the financial downturn.  The measure included education funding to prevent harmful cutbacks and to create jobs by modernizing schools.

ARRA provided needed funds for early childhood development programs such as Head Start along with funding to address teacher shortages in grade levels K-12 as well as $1 billion to transition classrooms into the 21st century.  The measure included $31 million in additional Title I money to assist in providing support for under-served students for El Paso.

Fighting for El Paso Schools - Unfortunately, ARRA funds intended to support El Paso students were blocked by Texas Governor Rick Perry who effectively diverted the money to replenish Texas’ Rainy Day fund, instead of using them for the intended purpose of retaining teachers and preventing overcrowded classrooms.  Congressman Reyes secured additional funding through the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which included $10 billion to help cash-strapped local school districts to prevent looming teacher layoffs.

Congressman Reyes fought to place legislative restrictions on the funds to prevent Governor Perry, or any other state leader who attempted similar actions, from taking education funds destined for students for other purposes.  

Support for Higher Education

Benefits for El Paso Students - A proud alumni of El Paso Community College, Congressman Reyes works to provide opportunities to current students by strengthening financial aid assistance.  In 2010, over 46,000 federal grants and loans were dispersed to students at UTEP (28,325) and EPCC (17,953).  Reyes fought to increase the maximum Pell grant award to an all time high of $5,500 (up from $4,050 since 2007) and student loan repayment interest rates to an all time low of 3.4%.

Strengthening El Paso Institutions - Congressman Reyes fights for federal support for Hispanics Serving Institutions (HSIs) such as UTEP and EPCC, securing hundreds of millions in funding for math and science activities at HSIs.  He has secured over $7 million in direct federal appropriated funding for Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and UTEP.  Reyes brings high-profile national leaders, such as cabinet secretaries and White House officials to UTEP for the Border Security Conference, and he brought then House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius along with a high-level NIH delegation to the Paul Foster Medical School.

Bringing key national leaders to El Paso provides opportunities for our academic institutions to have direct input on policy, and these interactions have resulted in significant investments in our local education facilities, including the establishment and federal investment in the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Border Security and Immigration and the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at UTEP.

Bolstering Early Education and Literacy Programs

Reyes fought President Bush’s to prevent the transfer of Head Start from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Education. Expects predicted that the transition to the Department of Education may have altered Head Start's purpose as a holistic preparatory program.

Congressman Reyes worked closely with El Paso's Empowerment Zone to create and implement the Read El Paso initiative which kicked off in January, 2004. To date, this program has provided over 75,000 books to El Pasoans.  An active participant in the El Paso Libraries Bi-National Literacy Summit, at Reyes’ request the event was headlined by Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, in his role as Chairman of the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness.

Congressman Reyes, in partnership with the El Paso Libraries, provided books for the Dia de Los Ninos/Dia de Los Libros event, and he is working with the Library of Congress to provide books for El Paso school libraries that were damaged by severe cold weather.

Promoting Service and Volunteerism

To promote volunteerism and community service, Congressman Reyes sponsors the "El Paso Service Challenge" to coincide with the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. During the month of September, El Paso students are encouraged to participate in community service to commemorate 9/11.

Press Releases - UTEP Awarded $600K from the Department of Health and Human Services 9.27.2012

Press Releases - National Science Foundation Awards UTEP a $225K Research Grant 9.5.2012

Press Releases - National Science Foundation Awards UTEP $1.05 Million in Federal Grants 8.23.2012

Press Releases - Department of Health and Human Services Awards EPCC $588K in Federal Funds 8.10.2012

Speeches and Statements - Reyes statement regarding the fiscal challenges facing our school districts 1.31.2012

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