So there is a new ranking Republican member on the House Education and Labor Committee in Congress, John Kline (MN). He replaces Buck McKeon (CA) who departs for Armed Services. Word is that the Republicans were concerned that any replacement for McKeon be able to take on Chairman Miller (D-CA) on labor issues, which helped Kline’s case over some others considered too moderate on labor issues. If so, that actually bodes well for education. In recent years whether Democrats or Republicans were in charge the committee has accomplished a lot on education when the big partisan debates have been over labor policy. It gave them something to fight about and increased the pressure to get something done on the other side of the ledger. When John Boehner (R-OH) was chairman, for instance, he worked closely with Miller to pass No Child Left Behind and was much more partisan on labor policy than education policy. In fact, he went from caring little about education to being quite invested in parts of the No Child law.
Also, this Politico story on the discontent some rural legislators are feeling with regard to the Obama agenda and whether it’s too urbanized or cosmopolitan in its orientation is worth reading. The story doesn’t have an education angle but there is one. You’re also hearing grumbling on our space that the urban tail is wagging the entire public school dog right now. That’s not a new complaint, obviously, but it perhaps has more salience right now. One place it could rear its head is in debates over accountability for post-secondary preparation and where and how career and technical education fits in to that.