Reauthorization of NCLB is a top item on the agenda for the U.S. Congress that will convene in January 2007. The November 2006 elections has set the table for what might happen this time around, and it is time for people committed to quality education to begin planning for effective advocacy.
There will be some jockeying for key positions on the committees that will be involved, so we can’t know for sure at this point, but here are some likely prospects:
Christopher Dodd is now the ranking Democratic member of the Subcommittee on Education and Early Childhood Development, which gives him an inside track for the chairmanship, if he wants it, when the Democrats take control. Chair of the parent Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is likely to be Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who is now the ranking Democratic member of the committee.
In the House, the ranking Democratic member of the Subcommittee on Education Reform is Lynn Woolsey from Sonoma & Marin counties in California. Chair of the parent Committee on Education & the Workforce is likely to be George Miller of Solano and Contra Costa counties in California, who has already expressed himself on NCLB since the election:
Ross McGowan: You were a committee chairman when Democrats were in control before. Are you going back to your position with the House Education Committee?
Rep. George Miller: I was the committee chair of the Natural Resources Committee when the Democrats were in control of the House. It’s my hope and I’m campaigning to be the committee chair in the House Education Committee in the upcoming Congress and I hope my colleagues will support me and I think they will. I’m excited about it.
Ross McGowan: You and the president early on in his administration were buddies he was inviting to you dinner at the White House with the “No Child Left Behind” and you both seemed to want to revisit that as well.
Rep. George Miller: Well it’s very important it’s the cornerstone of improving the educational opportunities for poor or minority children in this country and it’s the cornerstone of putting some accountability and responsibility into the school systems for what our children are learning. And there is a lot of support for those goals in this country and we reauthorized it. I think there is changes that have to be made and I would welcome the president back he has been absent without leave for five years and failure to fund “No Child Left Behind” is causing serious problems for the states and local school districts. Hopefully we can correct that and I’m excited that he signaled willingness to pursue and support the reauthorization
Time for all of us to get to work!