Lamar Alexander is slated to take the reins of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
By Lauren Camera, Education Week, Nov. 7, 2014 - After easily capturing the number of seats they needed take control of the U.S. Senate—and padding their majority in the House of Representatives—congressional Republicans have laid out an aggressive education policy agenda that includes overhauling the long-stalled No Child Left Behind law and the mammoth Higher Education Act.
Meanwhile, Sen. Alexander will likely pick up where he left off on the NCLB law, with a bill he introduced last year that garnered support from every committee Republican but didn’t get a single Democratic co-sponsor.
The measure, which is similar to Mr. Kline’s, would significantly scale back the federal role in K-12 policy. Among other provisions, it would allow states to devise their own accountability plans and eliminate the federal role in requiring states to set specific student-achievement goals, or in identifying a certain percentage of schools as low-performing.
Sen. Alexander is especially a critic of both Race to the Top and the NCLB waivers—he is fond of saying they’ve turned the federal Department of Education into a “national school board” and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan into a “waiver-granting czar.”
Meanwhile, school choice policies have become signature issues for a number of high-profile Republican senators widely seen as having presidential aspirations, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, both of whom have written or co-sponsored school choice bills.
Sen. Alexander also has a school choice proposal, which would allow states to take almost all of their federal K-12 funds and combine them into one giant block grant aimed at creating scholarships for low-income students that could be used at any school, private or public. (Read More)