Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Four Indiana Republicans Picked For Congressional Ed Committee

Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, IN-4

Two of Indiana’s new Republican representatives in Congress will serve on the U.S. House’s Education and the Workforce Committee, the panel’s chairman announced Wednesday.

Reps. Susan Brooks and Luke Messer will join current members Larry Bucshon and Todd Rokita — who will chair the subcommittee that deals with P-12 education issues — on the panel.

With four members of its delegation on the House panel, there are more representatives from Indiana on the committee than from any other state so far. (Democrats have yet to announce their complete lineup.)

That means Indiana’s congressional delegation will have a somewhat bigger role play in the business of a committee that’s had a tendency to lock up as it sorts through some particularly sticky education issues.

To name one: despite ‘No Child Left Behind’s’ unpopularity, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have yet to agree on a way to revise — or “reauthorize” the law — known formally as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

And that’s just the beginning. Alyson Klein sums up the “legislative logjam” in EdWeek:

Over the past two years, the Republican House and the Democratic Senate have clashed on education funding issues. GOP lawmakers in the House have tried to boost funding for special education and disadvantaged students, while eliminating President Obama’s favorite programs, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and the School Improvement Grants. So far, Democrats and the administration have been able to keep those programs funded. Will that dynamic continue?

Committees in each chamber have also approved bills to renew the ESEA law. While both scale back the federal role in gauging student achievement, they go in different directions when it comes to school improvement, teacher evaluation, and program consolidation. It’s unclear whether lawmakers will get to work on finding a compromise between those bills—or allow the administration’s plan to offer states waivers from key mandates of the current version of the ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act, to stay in place.

The Answer Sheet‘s Valerie Strauss seems to draw a link between Indiana’s “top honors in terms of number of seats” and the state’s prominence in the “national market-driven school reform movement.”

CORRECTION: An embarrassing error — I misidentified Susan Brooks as “Susan Burton.” Dan Burton is a retiring Fifth District Congressman. I regret the mistake.

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