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2014 Election Results: The Impact on Federal Education Policy

Webinar Panelists

Webinar:


2014 Election Results:
The Impact on Federal Education Policy

Panelists
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education
Phillip Lovell, VP of Policy and Advocacy for Comprehensive High School Reform, Alliance for Excellent Education
Ellin Nolan, President, Washington Partners, LLC
Della B. Cronin, Principal, Washington Partners, LLC

On November 10, 2014 the Alliance for Excellent Education and Washington Partners, LLC hosted a webinar on the impact of the 2014 election results on federal education policy. The panelists discussed how the outcomes of the election will affect the structure of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce; the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; and the Obama administration’s priorities. Panelists also answered questions submitted by viewers across the country.

wpllc

Bob Wise:    Good afternoon and welcome to our webinar on the impact of the 2014 elections on federal education policy.  What an election night!  I’m Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Education.  I’m joined, in the studio today by Phillip Lovell, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for Comprehensive High School Reform here at the Alliance for Excellent Education, Ellin Nolan, President of Washington Partners and Della Cronin, President of Washington Partners, an organization with extensive knowledge and experience, working with both the legislative and executive branches of government, in order to mover policy forward.  We’re very fortunate to be able to join with Washington Partners, today, in this webcast.

During the afternoon’s webinar, we will discuss how the outcomes of last week’s election will affect the structure of the Congressional education committees, the passing of key pieces of legislation, and, the Obama administration’s priorities; what happened to them?  As you may know, Republicans picked up the additional seats needed to win control of the Senate.  On the House side, the Republican Party maintained their control, and, picked up additional seats, as well.

Before we get started, wanna remind you that you can ask us questions by using the form at the bottom of this webpage.  We’ll be answering questions as possible, so, please, feel free to submit one during the webinar.  You can also submit a question to us via Twitter using the ‚Äúallfored‚Äù hashtag.  So, I wanna turn it over, now, to Ellin for a few opening comments before we get into a far-ranging discussion.  Ellin?

Ellin Nolan:    Thank you, Bob.  We are very pleased to be here with you and Phillip and to have the opportunity to discuss the potential and projected impact of interim elections on education and other related social policy in this upcoming Congress.  I think it’s interesting to note that incoming majority leader, Mitch McConnell, much like Speaker Boehner, has stated his belief that the Congress must be returned to regular order if the gridlock that has gripped the Capital is to end.  Regular order is something that has eluded the Senate, in particular, for over a decade.  That means that, really, a small percentage of Senators, including those serving on the Health Committee, have ever had the opportunity to develop legislation, to move it through the committee and onto the Senate floor, then, on to a debate, then, to a conference committee with their House counterparts.

Returning to regular order means the leadership will have to relinquish the power it has accumulated to prevent debate and the critical amendment process that helps build legislative consensus.  Hopefully, Senator McConnell will be successful at achieving this goal.

Bob Wise:    And, we will be seeing that, very shortly.  I think there’s some significant ‚Äì before I move into some questions, there’s some significant dates coming up ‚Äì or, events.  ‚ÄúYes,‚Äù there was the election, but now, with the change in control of the Senate and, indeed, pickup in the House by the Republican Party.  It’s important to recognize, in the weeks coming up, different organizing that’s taking place.  We’re pretty sure who’s gonna be the President ‚Äì or, the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate.  Who’s gonna chair the committees?  What’s going to ‚Äì what kind of leadership structure will there be?  What sort of staff changes will there be that we need to be watching for?

And so, the next few weeks should, actually, I think, are going to really show us a good deal because, in both parties, they will go back and, what they call, ‚Äúorganize‚Äù – in their Democratic caucus or Republican conference ‚Äì they will organize and determine their leadership for the upcoming two year session.  So, let me first turn ‚Äì Della, the makeup of the 114th Congress ‚Äì that’s the one coming in ‚Äì differing from the 113th; how does that affect the overall tone and productivity of each chamber of commerce?  Or, it could be a commerce, [Laughter] but, it’s actually Congress, too; they’re gonna work on some commerce measures.

Della Cronin:    Well, I think that, as we all know ‚Äì everybody read the paper and everybody knows that Republicans are in charge of both the House and the Senate.  And, I think, going into the election, we all knew that the House was gonna stay in Republican hands.  The question was, ‚ÄúWhat was gonna happen to the Senate and by how much?‚Äù  I think that surprise for everybody was the margins in the Senate.  And, I think, one of the things we were all wringing our hands about, going into the election, was, ‚ÄúA flip is one thing, but, a flip with smaller margins is quite another.‚Äù  And, now, we’ve got the flip, but, the margins are not as thin as we thought.  So, that, hopefully, will loosen up some of the gridlock on the Senate side.

In terms of productivity ‚Äì it’s such a subjective term ‚Äì on Capitol Hill, I think the House would argue that they’ve been quite productive in the 113th Congress.  Those of us in education policy know that they passed their version of an ESEA bill, they passed a charter school bill, they passed the Education Sciences Reform Act; they feel like they’ve done quite a bit on the issues that we, up here, and, I assume, a lot of folks watching, care about.  The problem, arguably, is the Senate, in terms of the productivity of the 113th Congress.  I think that, given the control of Republicans in both chambers, that will loosen up a bit.

I think that different kinds of bills that look a little differently will have to get through the House and then to the Senate, or, maybe, vice versa; through the Senate and to the House.  But, if there is more productivity in the House and in the Senate, that means there’s gonna be more productivity for the veto pen in the White House.  And, President Obama will be facing some hard choices, if  this Congress is, in fact, more productive on the education policy front.

Bob Wise:    Now, if I could press you on ‚Äúproductivity;‚Äù ’cause there’s ‚Äúproductivity‚Äù that’s measured by legislation through and, often, whether or not two parties are working together.  But, sometimes, can’t productivity be held up  or limited by differences within the parties themselves?

Della Cronin:    Of course.

Bob Wise:    I mean, my observation would be; there’s not unanimity in the Republican Party on what education policy looked like.  There, certainly, hadn’t been unanimity within the Democratic Party, as well.

Della Cronin:    Right.  And, I think that one of the challenges for education advocates has always been that Republicans, rarely, all agree on how to change ESEA and Democrats, rarely, all agree on how to do it, as well.  And so, in the upcoming Congress, I think that Chairman Kline ‚Äì presumably, Chairman Kline ‚Äì and Chairman Alexander will have a lot of research of themselves to do in terms of who their allies are gonna be a who are gonna feel the way that they do about certain issues, and, who their friends, hopefully, on the other side of the aisle will be on some of those issues, as well.

And, I that, for those of us who watched the election and tried to figure out whether or not we had some friends coming into the election.  We’ll be watching that research a little closely ourselves; I think we’re all looking for some friends on our issues.

Ellin Nolan:    It’s important to note, too, that we don’t, yet, know if this new crop of members has come ‚Äì the Republican members ‚Äì with the same mandate as many of the last Congress was; not to enact legislation, but, to stop legislation.  And, that’s yet to play out.  Certainly, some of the Republican Senators who will take over in these committees have been in the Congress for a very long time, and, are hopeful to support McConnell in going back to regular order.  Also, one factoid; last Congress, the Health Committee was, in fact, the most productive committee, which is pretty staggering, given how little they did!

[Crosstalk]

Bob Wise:    And just ‚Äì and the Health Committee ‚Äì the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee –

Ellin Nolan:    Right, right.

Bob Wise:    which is where all the education legislation comes, will, now, be headed by Senator Alexander; Lamar Alexander of Tennessee who, certainly, knows the education issues.  One final note ‚Äì and then I wanna ask Phillip a question ‚Äì which you alluded to, as well is that  a lot of education issues aren’t as ‚Äì well, we’re gonna be talking about the two parties, pretty much, and who’s controlling and whoever controls the gavel controls the ability of legislation to get, at least, to the floor.  But, when you get to education, it’s not about a partisan divide; it’s a philosophical divide, with people from both parties on different sides.  Is that a fair observation.

[Crosstalk]

Della Cronin:    Agreed!  Right.  So, the Democrats have a different perception of what the federal role is in education; generally, a larger one than their Republican colleagues.  But, within that, ‚ÄúIs it a civil rights issue?  Is it an equity issue?  Is it both?  Is it some portion of both of those issues?‚Äù  And, then, on the Republican side, ‚ÄúWhat is the federal role in education?  How much money should we be throwing at education, at the federal level, at a time when there’s not enough money to go around for the things that we think are important?   Should the federal government be deciding what kind of teachers we’re getting, what kind of supports?‚Äù

I think the Common Core ‚Äì obviously, that’s not a federal policy, but, that’s certainly something that folks ‚Äì I mean, some Republicans ‚Äì coming to town are gonna wanna talk about.  So, parsing out all these issues and who’s gonna feel certain ways about which ones, is gonna be ‚Äúfun-ish‚Äù to watch.  [Laughs]  It’ll be a challenge, for sure.

Bob Wise:    So, Phillip, Della talked about the majority in the Senate; the majority, actually, was larger than anticipated by the gains in the Republican Party, but, still short of 60, which is what is necessary to stop a filibuster.  Could you talk some about what a majority really means in the Senate?

Phillip Lovell:    Sure.  So, very true that Republicans do not quite have 60 votes; Democrats did not have 60 votes going into the election, either.  Nevertheless, having the majority is still really important; the majority sets the agenda, the majority chairs the committee.  And, when you chair the committee, that means that you’re the body that’s, really, writing the key pieces of legislation and inviting input into that process.  So, although, the Republicans don’t have 60 votes in the Senate, they’ll still be running the show.  And, they’ll be running the show in a much different way, I think, than what their Democratic ‚Äì soon to be ‚Äì predecessors did.

Bob Wise:    Because, regardless of whether you’re a chair in the Senate or the House ‚Äì particularly, in the Senate ‚Äì you still have the authority, in that committee, to set that agenda.  Don’t you?

Phillip Lovell:    Exactly.  You set the agenda, you decide that hearings are gonna be taking place, which ‚Äì I think they will see a bit more oversight hearings, probably, coming from the Senate than we had in the past.  And, literally, they’ll have the pen.  So, whereas, before, the Republicans were really needed to influence a Democratic starting point for legislation, now, it’ll be the reverse.  And, Republicans will be able to ‚Äì they have the starting point for legislation, such as ESEA; ‚ÄúElementary Secondary Education Act.‚Äù  And, that starting point will be pretty different from where the Democrats were starting at.

Bob Wise:    So, Ellin, Republicans retained control of the House, picked up members, increased their majority there.  How does the election  affect the makeup of the House Education and Workforce Committee?

Ellin Nolan:    Well, Chairman Kline, most likely, will maintain the chairmanship; there have been some questions raised because he’s served for a while and the Republicans have term limits.  But, it appears that because Buck McKeon left the chairmanship before finishing a complete term, John Kline did not get a complete term; Buck McKoen is retired.  So, there is the possibility of challenge to Chairman Kline, but, it seems pretty unlikely.  And, he has a close relationship with Speaker Boehner and Speaker Boehner has five votes to everybody else‚Äôs’ one on the Steering Committee.

So, the conventional wisdom is that Mr. Kline will retain the chairmanship.  I think, also, on the committee ‚Äì we always expect new Republicans on the committee; it’s not a popular draw for Republican members ‚Äì labor issues, education issues.  So, there will be a big turnover there, but, I think, for the first time in many years, there will be a lot of Democratic turnover.  The turnover is very senior members of that committee; not only George Miller, but, Carolyn McCarthy, Tim Bishop, Rush Holt.  Who am I forgetting?

Della Cronin:    Tierney.

Phillip Lovell:    Tierney; John Tierney.

Ellin Nolan:    Are all leaving.  And their expertise will be a loss; their staff expertise will be a loss.  And, I think we’re looking at a committee with far less experience and knowledge about the legislation they’re charged with writing, which, clearly, is gonna slow down the process.  Another important change is the partnership that Chairman Kline and Lamar Alexander have made clear; they hope to take advantage of ‚Äì that’s a different situation than Mr. Kline had in the past.  And, I think, again, with Speaker Boehner’s interest in education and legislation, if it looks like a bill has been worked out between Kline and Alexander, I think Boehner’s more likely to give floor time to those debates.  So, it could move things forward.

Bob Wise:    So, if Kline ‚Äì if Chairman Kline ‚Äì John Kline ‚Äì does retain the chairmanship of the House Education Committee, that means that, at least, it’s an institutional memory, in moving legislation forward.

[Crosstalk]

Ellin Nolan:    Exactly.

Bob Wise:    And, there may be new member coming on, but, the Chairman has been there.

Ellin Nolan:    Right.  But, I recall the last ‚Äì the beginning of every Congress, you hear from the Chairman’s staff; before they can get much done, they have a big educating job to do with members.  So, depending on the number of new Republican members, they may have to start a little more slowly than they would like.

Bob Wise:    And, I think it should be pointed out ‚Äì and I’ll be interested to see whether it plays out this time ‚Äì Speaker Boehner ‚Äì John Boehner of Ohio ‚Äì is, at least, the first Speaker ‚Äì at least, in my memory ‚Äì to actually have chaired the Education Committee;

Ellin Nolan:    Absolutely.

Bob Wise:    So, he knows this issue and was critically involved in No Child Left Behind.

Ellin Nolan:    And, he believes in the power of chairmanship as much as Mitch McConnell does, as a long-time legislator.  So, that’s a significant potential change.

Bob Wise:    So, step across –

Ellin Nolan:    If the young guns let it happen.  [Laughs]

Bob Wise:    So, if you would step across the committee aisle for a moment; it looks like the ranking member ‚Äì the head Democrat on the House Education Committee ‚Äì will be Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia.  And so, what kind of differences would we see from Representative Scott as opposed to outgoing, right Representative George Miller?

Ellin Nolan:    Well, if you think of George Miller, he was, certainly, a passionate voice for minority students, for kids with disability.  He believed strongly in education equality.  He was furious with the Republicans for developing an education bill that he thought took the focus off low-income families and low-income schools in re-writing ESEA.  He, also, like Harkin, was a huge champion of early education and a champion of first generation kids going to college.  Bobby Scott shares those views, but, his style is more of a lawyer, in terms of how he approaches the conversation about these issues, rather than the kind of compassionate advocate that we came to see in George Miller.  So, it’s really a question of ‚ÄúStyle over substance?‚Äù  And I think it will be a little different.

Also, we know that Bobby Scott, in his tenure with the Judiciary Committee, was a huge advocate for programs to prevent violence and gangs and to end the ‚Äúschool to prison pipeline.‚Äù  He’ll have an opportunity to bring attention to those issues, I think, to the Education Workforce Committee.  He, also, has always cared about the HBCUs and Pell Grant programs, and, he’s gonna continue with that voice.

Bob Wise:    So, Phillip, let’s turn quickly to the Senate before we go to ‚ÄúQ & A.‚Äù  And so, how ‚Äì what kind of changes can we expect to see?  Especially in Education Committee Leadership?

Phillip Lovell:    So, we’ll also see a significant change on the Senate side.  Although, I would say, not quite as much change as on the House side, where we’re gonna have, at least, five new Democratic members of the House committee; at least, two new members for the Republicans.  On the Senate side, we will see a new chairman, although, someone who’s not new to education, at all.  In all likelihood, it’ll be Senator Lamar Alexander; technically, under the Senate Republican rules, Senator Mike Enzi, who’s a former chairman, could become chairman, but, there’s ‚Äì everyone thinks that it’s, pretty much, going to be Senator Alexander.

On the Democratic side, Chairman Tom Harkin is retiring.  So, it is going to be, in all likelihood, Senator Patty Murray, who’s also no stranger to education; she was a teacher before she –

Bob Wise:    For the state of Washington.

Phillip Lovell:    For the state of Washington.  Both very passionate.  I think it’s ‚Äì it goes without saying, Senator Alexander is among the most knowledgeable person ‚Äì among the most knowledgeable people ‚Äì on the Hill, when it comes to education; he was Secretary of Education, he was President of University of Tennessee, was a former governor.  I mean, he knows the issue very well and is very passionate about it.  So, I think that ‚Äì so, for our earlier conversation on productivity; he is eager to legislate.  And, in fact, in the past, he has voted for ‚Äì in the 2011 version of the ESEA Re-authorization that came out of the Health Committee ‚Äì he really voted for that bill as a way to get the process going; not so much because he loved the content, but, because he wanted to legislate.

And, when the Senate acted on the ESEA Re-Authorization in 2013, again, he was just eager to move the ball forward ‚Äì to just get the legislation moving.  So, I think that we will see some movement on ESEA, early into next year.

Bob Wise:    So, quickly, let’s turn to spending; leadership on the Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education in, both, the House and the Senate.  That’s gonna change, as well, in this upcoming Congress.  What does the future look like for education spending in 2015 and beyond?

Phillip Lovell:        Good question.  We are in for a ‚Äì I think ‚Äì a, slightly, bumpy ride.

[Laughter]

Right now, we’re in this period of time where we’re operating under a continuing resolution.  So, essentially, we’re funded at the same levels as we were last year, until the middle of the month.  Congress has to decide whether or not they’re going to ‚Äúkick the can;‚Äù make these decisions into the new Congress, which I imagine, especially ‚Äì some of the new members would love to have their fingers on the funding levels.  So, they would prefer that.

We could put all the appropriations bills together into an omnibus spending bill.  And, a lot of folks really wanna see that happen because, one, it will provide more direction to the various agencies as to how to spend the money and how much money they spend.  And, two, I think it helps sort of kick start this idea of going back to regular order ‚Äì not that omnibus is regular order, but, it’s better than a continuing resolution.

[Laughter]

And, then, another reason just to pass an omnibus bill is just to clear the slate; start fresh into next year.  We’ll see if that can happen.

Bob Wise:    Oh.  Ellin?

Ellin Nolan:    Oh!  I was just gonna add with that ‚Äì the Appropriations Committee ‚Äì he is someone who, in the past, has worked with the Republicans.  He is someone who is –

Phillip Lovell:    No; the Democrats.

Ellin Nolan:    Oh, the Democrats.  Excuse me.  He has the sequester is coming up again in the next two years.  He is somebody who’s indicated dissatisfaction with sequester, as an appropriator; he thinks that’s the wrong way to make decisions about a budget.  So, he and, certainly, Hal Rogers feels the same way, McConnell feels that way, Boehner feels that way.  So, in terms of the leadership, there’s a chance for some change in that regard.  The problem will be, ‚ÄúCan the come up with an alternative that the newer members ‚Äì the more ‘conservative’ members, for lack of a better term ‚Äì who really wanna ‚Äì who think holding Congress’ feet to the fire with a sequester is the only way to limit spending?  Can they satisfy that faction?‚Äù

Bob Wise:    So, sequestration is for lack ‚Äì a little ‚Äúraw-ly‚Äù say it ‚Äì but, it is, effectively, an ‚Äúacross the board‚Äù cut –

[Crosstalk]

Ellin Nolan:    Exactly.

Bob Wise:    of several percent.  But, if you’re sitting in a state education agency right now, or, you’re a district superintendent –

Ellin Nolan:    Mm-hmm?

Bob Wise:    Is it safe to say, ‚ÄúThere will not be an increase in federal funding for the next couple of years‚Äù?

Ellin Nolan:    I think that’s pretty safe to say; ‚ÄúYes.‚Äù

Bob Wise:    OK.  And, in terms of your Title I dollars, other ‚Äúformula‚Äù grants; ‚ÄúDon’t look for an increase‚Äù?

Ellin Nolan:    Well, yeah.  And, even beyond that, I think, for the administration, there’s some danger there, as well, because the administration’s most ‚Äì to them, most important is the ‚ÄúSignature‚Äù program; that would be the school improvement grants, Race to the Top, by three ‚Äì have very little, if any, Republican support in the House and, now, without a strong Democratic voice, insisting on funding for those programs in the Senate, it’s questionable what will happen in the future, in terms of funding for those programs.

Bob Wise:    Even then, not all the Democratic voices were enthusiastic.

Ellin Nolan:    Exactly.

Phillip Lovell:    Yeah.  In fact, the Senate’s Subcommittee Appropriations Bill that passed the Subcommittee, this summer; it didn’t include funding for Race to the Top.

Bob Wise:    And that was a Democratic bill.

Phillip Lovell:    That was a Democratic Subcommittee vote.  So, already, a lot of their priorities were in jeopardy, but, I would say, there are, really, two issues that we have to look at, when it comes to the appropriations process; the funding levels are, obviously, critical, but, the riders, now, become, even, a huge issue because, now, the Republicans will be able to put policy onto the appropriations bills that the administration is, definitely, not going to like.  And so, it’s going to put the two at odds in a way where they didn’t have quite that same opportunity to, in the past.

Bob Wise:    But –

[Crosstalk]

Ellin Nolan:    But, one bright light might be IDEA funding, because Kline and Alexander, lots of the Republicans and many Democrats have supported the idea of full funding for IDEA.  Unfortunately, it’s at the expense of other programs, but, that’s one area where disability issues might get a better shake, coming forward.

Bob Wise:    So, to Phillip – _____, Phillip ‚Äì so, not one penny for earmarks, but, millions if not billions for riders.

[Laughter]

Phillip Lovell:    Oh!  Indeed!  Indeed.

Bob Wise:    This actually follows up; a question ‚Äì a viewer ‚Äì from the state of Washington wants to know, ‚ÄúHow the new Congress will affect implementation of state waivers by the Department of Education?‚Äù  45 states and territories and the District of Columbia have waivers, right now, from No Child Left Behind.  So, how is this affected?

Phillip Lovell:    This is a great question because there are, really, two ways in which Congress can influence the waiver process; the ideal would be for Congress to actually pass a re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Bob Wise:    Expired six years ago.

Phillip Lovell:    Expired ‚Äì exactly.  Now, the Congress can, also, alter ‚Äì not just the waiver process ‚Äì but, also, other policy that’s been set up by the department, through ‚Äúregulation,‚Äù or, through ‚Äúguidance,‚Äù by using the Appropriations pen, as we were just saying.  So, I think a prime target for this opportunity would be ‚Äì probably be ‚Äì the School Improvement Grant program.  So, this is the program that ‚Äì it was actually funded under the Bush administration, but, became a very different program under the Obama administration, after the stimulus package passed and they got a huge infusion of funding, at that point in time.

If you go back and look at the statute for the School Improvement Grant program, there is about two pages of legislative language.  The administration translated that into a program where, to receive the funding, there’s the ‚Äúschool closure‚Äù policy, the policy of ‚Äúturnaround,‚Äù where half the teachers are fired or half the teachers and the principal is fired, or, the principal is fired.  So, this has gotten ‚Äì certainly, not a great reputation on the Hill, as Ellin was describing.  You can see ‚Äì and, even Democratic appropriators modified the program for the appropriations process ‚Äì if it’s funded, you could see substantial changes linked to that program, for the appropriations process.

Ellin Nolan:    One other kind of program that might face some difficulty are competitive grants which, you would think, the Republican Party would support.

Bob Wise:    And, once again, would you go through what they are?  That’s Race to the Top and what?

Ellin Nolan:    Yeah.  As opposed to the ‚Äúformula‚Äù grant programs where it’s very clear how much money goes to each state, each year, with competitive grants, every state or local school district or non-profit organization has to compete for these funds.  These programs have fallen out of favor with the Republicans, though they’re very popular with the Obama administration because they believe those programs spur innovation and new ideas and higher quality; it also leaves a lot of money in the hands of the Secretary of Education to  decide where it goes.  And, particularly, in light of the waivers and other actions Secretary Duncan has taken, both, Mr. Kline and Lamar Alexander want to reduce the power of the Secretary of Education, going forward.

Bob Wise:    And so, you can go at the competitive grants program, which is within the discretion of the secretary, through the appropriations process.  You can, also, go at the waivers, both, if you do re-authorize ESEA, but, probably some other ways that you could limit that, as well.

Della Cronin:    I was gonna say, as you were talking about waivers, there could be oversight.  I think you’ll see lots of requests for information, lots of letters to the new chairs asking for status updates, ‚ÄúWhy did you decide this?,‚Äù hearings, maybe.  I think that the ‚Äì Mr. Kline and Mr. Alexander are both ‚Äì are not fans of the waivers and, I think, will probably put some pressure on Secretary Duncan to prove the value of this effort to them.

Bob Wise:    So, waivers ‚Äì aren’t most states up, right now, for renewal of their waivers?

Ellin Nolan:    Yeah.  Correct.

Della Cronin:    Well, it’s interesting that this question comes from the state of Washington, too!  [Laughs]

Bob Wise:    Yeah; which lost a waiver.  But ‚Äì so, most states are up for renewal of waivers.  What can happen, in the next few months, that affects that?

Phillip Lovell:    So, I don’t think that ‚Äì I would be surprised if anything happens in the appropriations process, right now, that’s going to impede the renewal process.  I think what will happen is; the ESEA Re-Authorization process will start happening, soon into next year.  It’ll still be a while until there’s completion of that, I believe.  So, I think states ‚Äì soon, the Department of Education’s gonna come out with its ‚ÄúLabor Renewal Guidance.‚Äù  I think that states are gonna ‚Äì they’re gonna have to go along with that process, but, it’s understandably, very frustrating because, as they’re going through this process where they’re submitting several hundreds of pages of documentation to the Department of Education, if ESEA passes, some of that policy will, likely, change.

Some of the things that were required, probably, won’t be, in an ESEA Re-Authorization.  If the Congress does decide to makes changes to the policy for the appropriations, state policy could change.  I will say, though, that changes that will be made to the ESEA ‚Äì to the waiver policy will, in all likelihood, if anything, just provide more flexibility to states, rather than less.  So, it’s not gonna be a matter of states having to do a lot more; it’s that they have agreed to comply with certain things that, under new policy set by Republican Congress, they wouldn’t have to do.

Della Cronin:    Well, and the governor races could come into play here, too.  I think that there are probably some governors who ‚Äì I think everybody ‚Äì there’s not a governor who likes current law, but, there could be some movement on the requests for relief from the Department, or, other ways to work around what current law has.  I think education, as an issue, played out more prevalently in the gubernatorial races than it did in the federal races.  And so, some of those governors might be looking for some way to live up to the rhetoric on their campaign trail.

Ellin Nolan:    And, I think, as we’ve said Kline and Alexander wanna move ESEA, first.  And they have the power to do that.  They probably could move it through the House and Senate floor, they could move it to conference.  But, if they don’t build any Democratic support for either bill, it’s kind of a guaranteed veto; the administration likes the waivers, far better than either the bill that the House passed last year, or, the one that Mr. Alexander has developed.

Phillip Lovell:    And, that goes back to one of the first things we were talking about, which is, ‚ÄúThe Republicans have the majority in the Senate; they don’t have 60 votes.‚Äù

Bob Wise:    That’s right.

Phillip Lovell:    So, it means that they’ll have to give in, at least a little bit, to some Democratic demands, both, to get a bipartisan bill out of the Senate and to make sure that the productivity of the veto pen is less than what it could be.

[Laughter]

But, when you look at the House ‚Äì the HR 5; Student Success Act the House passed last year ‚Äì last summer ‚Äì re-authorizing ESEA, and then you look at Senator Alexander‚Äôs bill, the Every Child Ready For College or Career Act; those bills are different, but, they’re not that different.

Ellin Nolan:    Mm-hmm.

Phillip Lovell:    Very ‚Äúconference-able,‚Äù if I can make up a word.

[Laughter]

Ellin Nolan:    If that’s a word!

Phillip Lovell:    Right.  It’s a word now!

[Laughter]

When you look at either of those bills and compare them to the waivers; big differences.  Look at those bills and compare them to the Senate’s 2013 bill; big differences.  So, it’s gonna be interesting to see what compromises are made in order to get, at least,  a few votes from the Democrats in the Senate.

Bob Wise:    So, Della pointed something out, though, that just struck a chord with me; is that, it is interesting to note that the only state that’s lost a waiver is the state of Washington and the ranking Senate member of the Health Committee is Senator Murray of the state of Washington.

Ellin Nolan:    Yes.  And, she’s also, likely, to be ranking member on the Labor HHS Subcommittee, as well, on appropriations.

Bob Wise:    That’s right.

[Crosstalk]

Della Cronin:    Yeah.  She’s been a strong voice, sort of, against the trend to competitive grants, since the beginning of the Obama administration’s, towards them.  So, it’ll be interesting.

Bob Wise:    So, Ellin, I’m getting older and, as a result –

[Laughter]

I hang more on short-term things.  So, any projection ‚Äì and we have a question to this affect, about, ‚ÄúBob, are you getting older?‚Äù

[Laughter]

The question is evident ‚Äì but, the question is, ‚ÄúWhat do you ‚Äì what to look for, if anything, in the lined up Congress that’s coming up, to the end of the year?‚Äù

Ellin Nolan:    OK.  Well, it’s clear that the budget is number one; the current continuing resolution which is the law in effect to allow the government to keep making funds available, even though we’ve gone into a new budget year, expires on December 11th.  Both, Senator McConnell and Speaker Boehner have made statements that they’d like to see the ‚Äì not a ‚Äúcontinuing‚Äù – well, a continuing resolution for the year ‚Äì an omnibus pass by that December 11th date.  But, there’s been other noise saying, ‚ÄúWell, why don’t we wait ’til the new Congress with more Republican power?  We could change that bill even more.‚Äù

And, what’s implied, certainly, is less funding; not more funding.  So, lame duck, we thought we’d be all about the CR and the budget and, now, it’s unclear.  There’s been talk about ‚Äì there are 50 Obama appointments that have not yet been confirmed that Harry Reid wanted to move forward.  Plus, the President just announced and new Attorney General nomination.  There are, apparently, not real good relations between Mr. Reid and the President, at the moment.  So, it’s not clear in that regard how anxious Harry Reid is gonna be to carry water for the administration and things seem a little tense.

The keystone pipeline, trade issues; there are other issues that people have thrown out there as areas of compromise, early on.  But, hard to tell if ‚Äì most lame duck sessions are pretty unproductive.

Della Cronin:    And, more specific to education, I think, as advocates, we were all hoping that there might be something before the end of the year.  And, the two contenders for us were the Education Sciences Reform Act or ‚ÄúESRA,‚Äù and –

Bob Wise:    ‚ÄúESRA‚Äù is what?

Della Cronin:    The Education Sciences Reform Act.

Bob Wise:    OK.  Thank you

Della Cronin:    Or, CCDBG, which you’re gonna make me say, as well; which is ‚ÄúChild Care Development Block Grant.‚Äù

Ellin Nolan:    Which ‚Äì there is a cloture vote on that coming up.  And who knows what will happen there?

[Crosstalk]

Della Cronin:    Right.  And, I think they’re still contenders, but, I think it’s gonna be one or the other; I don’t think it’ll be both.

Ellin Nolan:    Yeah.  I’ve heard CCDBG.

Bob Wise:    Well, I’m gonna bring it back to ‚Äì so, if you’re having to do the district for your budget, you’d have to bring it to your local ‚Äì your district board of education, sometime in April, probably; you’re putting it together much earlier.  Any projections for the district superintendent?

Ellin Nolan:    Well, I think the best you can hope for is the same as last year; no change.

Bob Wise:    And, that’s probably –

Ellin Nolan:    No change, across the board; the minimum across the board cut is the likely outcome.

Bob Wise:    And you might ‚Äì well, my question was, ‚ÄúIs there any chance that, if the money for competitive grants is eliminated, that that gets shifted into Title I, or, does it go away?‚Äù

Phillip Lovell:     The reality is that there hasn’t been that much money going into the competitive grant programs.  So, Race to the Top was getting less than 500 million dollars.  So, when you put in –

Bob Wise:    Title I or something is, like, 15 billion.

[Crosstalk]

Phillip Lovell:    And Title I is 14 billion; yeah.  So, if you put in the 250 million dollars that are going into Title I, spread across the 50 states, a district might be able to buy an extra set of pencils for the students, but, it’s not going to be a huge infusion of funding.

Bob Wise:    Well, actually, my hope is that it’s a tablet or some sort of other technology device because that’s what Ally from Maryland is interested in hearing about; is, ‚ÄúWhat impact does the election have on the availability of technology to support instruction?‚Äù

Phillip Lovell:    Unfortunately, I really don’t think the election is going to have much of an impact because there’s been, really, relatively little coming from the federal government, by way of the Department of Education, on technology.  That said, they’ve been huge supporters of it, in terms of the soapbox; in terms of really being out there, as a champion, for the concept.  There just hasn’t been the funding for programmatic purposes.  But, certainly ‚Äì and, actually, one of the programs that the administration proposed in last year’s budget was ‚Äúconnected educators;‚Äù they were proposing funding to provide additional professional development to teachers to help them, effectively, use technology in the classroom.

Now, if we step aside from the Congress and step aside from the White House, there’s the Federal Communications Commission, and, they’re working diligently on modernizing and, hopefully, expanding the E-Rate program, which provides funding for schools, districts and libraries for Internet connectivity.  Now ‚Äì but, that action ‚Äì if they do move to expand the program, that takes place out of the FCC, when Congress actually passed the Telecommunications Act in 1996.  They gave the FCC full authority to modify the program and to expand it and to put more money into it.  So, that’ll take place ‚Äì if it does take place ‚Äì hopefully, it’ll take place this calendar year and, hopefully, Congress will not get in the way of it.

Ellin Nolan:    One point ‚Äì the ‚Äúconnected education‚Äù – which is ‚Äì sounds like a great initiative and it’s, certainly, something school districts want, like my friend, Amy.  But, the problem is, what the administration did was reprogram dollars.  So, the money they put in to ‚Äúconnected‚Äù they really just took out of the big professional development block grant.  So, it’s not new funding; it’s reprogrammed dollars, which, theoretically, states might be able to do anyway.

Bob Wise:    But, it felt so good when –

Ellin Nolan:    It sounded good.

Della Cronin:    Yeah.

Bob Wise:    So, a question from Brenda in Kentucky ‚Äì and this was just alluded to, quickly ‚Äì she wants to know, ‚ÄúHow the election results could affect Common Core implementation and literacy efforts?‚Äù  Let’s take Common Core and let me set it up a little bit because Common Core, obviously, was an initiative by the states; the governors and the chief state school officers and the superintendents came together, back in ‚Äì well, it started as early as 2006 and 2007 ‚Äì but, in 2010, 44 states, I believe it was, adopted ‚Äì they developed the Common Core, working amongst themselves, and, they adopted the Common Core, each one, voluntarily.

It started ‚Äì an initiative that started while President Bush was president and ended when President Obama became president.  But, neither president had anything to do with the development of the Common Core and, I would argue, with the adoption.  And, indeed, the states still administered it.  Having said that, there are some in the Congress that have said that they feel that there has been a federal encroachment and that they are looking to ways to eliminate ‚Äì have the federal government stop or interrupt the implementation of the Common Core.  I find it interesting ‚Äì my personal note ‚Äì that those who argue states rights the most would use the federal government to stop what is a state initiative.

Having said that ‚Äì but, I’d be interested to see what you all read on the committees and on the new leadership on this issue.

Della Cronin:    Yeah.  I’ll start.  I recall, in previous elections, when we’ve had a lot of conservative members come to town and they are Republicans of varying levels of conservativeness.  And they came to town with the goal of repealing No Child Left Behind, or, getting rid of all of the federal programs that funded education.

Phillip Lovell:    Eliminating [Inaudible] for education.

Della Cronin:    Right.  So ‚Äì and, then, they get here and, you know, you have meetings with them and you say, ‚ÄúYou know, if you repeal No Child Left Behind, you’re getting rid of professional development funds for teachers, you’re getting rid of Title I programs that, in theory, address equity,‚Äù which we have all agreed is an appropriate federal intervention.  So, I think that it’s one thing to say that, ‚ÄúI hate,‚Äù or, ‚ÄúI dislike,‚Äù or, ‚ÄúI am against Common Core and I’m going to repeal it,‚Äù and then, coming to Washington and learning, maybe, a little more in depth, all of the things that you said about the development of Common Core and its history and where it really came from and what the federal government’s role, really, has been.

Right or wrong, Race to the Top and its explicit or implicit connection to Common Core was the impetus for all of this whiplash or, I guess, ‚Äúpush back‚Äù on Common Core.  And, I think that, when folks get to town, they’ll, hopefully, learn more about it.  But, they might feel the same way and talk about it in a very strong way.  I think it’s interesting that, during the ‚Äì I thought that this was interesting to watch, as people who like to watch floor debates of certain bills ‚Äì that, during the floor debate of the Student Success Act, there was a lot of floor speeches made about Common Core and Republicans, generally, being against it.

And, I remember Mr. Polis, who was managing the debate for the Democrats, at the time, said, ‚ÄúIf you’re really concerned about getting rid of Common Core, you’re not holding the right office.‚Äù  And he ‚Äì you know, his argument being, ‚ÄúThat should be a state level decision and this is not the place for that.‚Äù  But, that didn’t stop members of Congress from introducing explicit bills, saying, ‚ÄúNo federal dollars should be spent for the Common Core.‚Äù  I think Senator Roberts introduced something and there was a House member that introduced a similar bill.

And so, I think we’ll probably hear something about Common Core, during the debates of education legislation, but, I think we’ll all be interested to see how severe those debates are.

Ellin Nolan:    I think Della, certainly, put her finger on the biggest problem, I think, for the Common Core, which was the quid pro quo regarding funding out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  But, also, the funding for the assessments and the idea of these new assessments being used, in terms of teacher evaluation and the link with student performance and teacher evaluation; may people felt that was premature ‚Äì to put that into effect, right away.  And, that, certainly, created a lot of push back from a lot of educators who, otherwise, support the idea of making all kids college and career ready and more rigorous curriculum.

But, they don’t ‚Äì right away, they don’t wanna see their jobs on the line, regarding these new assessments.

Bob Wise:    But, at this point, the department has moved back from that ‚Äì retreated from that, wisely.

[Crosstalk]

Ellin Nolan:    Right.

Bob Wise:    So ‚Äì and, in terms of the initial American ‚Äì remind me again?

Ellin Nolan:    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Bob Wise:    Right!  [Laughs]  That was the stimulus package in 2009, which the Common Core was 50 out a possible 500 points; most states did not get Race to the Top, but, still chose to stay with the Common Core, and, since then.  And, the only other thing ‚Äì because this is important; preferences of the new majority ‚Äì is there is some talk about, ‚ÄúWell, the federal government should not be funding assessments.‚Äù  But, the federal government has been funding assessments, at least, since No Child Left Behind –

Ellin Nolan:    Uh-huh.

Bob Wise:    The feeling being that, ‚ÄúIf we’re going to ask states to be accountable by assessment that this can’t be a totally unfunded mandate.  We need to assist.‚Äù  And, in the Assessment Consortium that had been funded for the Common Core; the states determine whether they’re gonna use those assessments or not and the federal government has no say in it.  But, it will be interesting because that would seem ‚Äì there are some I’ve heard who raise this whole issue of, ‚ÄúShould the federal government be funding assessments?‚Äù  It’s ‚Äì what?  Something like 400 million dollars?

[Crosstalk]

Phillip Lovell:    400 million dollars.  So, yeah.  If you want your kids to ‚Äì if you wanna know how your students are doing, then, you might wanna continue to support the 400 million dollars going into the program.  If you don’t care, then go ahead.

Bob Wise:    The point being that these are not ‚Äì these assessments are not ‚Äì ones that the federal government writes; these are the ones that they choose.

[Crosstalk]

Phillip Lovell:    Exactly.  They ‚Äì yeah.

[Crosstalk]

Ellin Nolan:    To the contrary.

Phillip Lovell:    This money ‚Äì yeah.  It’s Title V of ESEA; the money goes to support state assessments.  States determine the assessments that they’re ‚Äì that the money goes to; there’s absolutely no requirement for Common Core in there.  The legislation was there long before Common Core existed.

Ellin Nolan:    And, to your point, Bob; I mean, there are facts that should dissuade members from the positions they’ve taken, but, during a campaign, they love the sound of ‚ÄúObama Core.‚Äù  It was a great campaign slogan and people really didn’t pay any attention to the facts; it was an issue that got applause.

[Crosstalk]

Phillip Lovell:    Well, and people, also, link ‚Äì you know, we were talking about waivers earlier ‚Äì they link waivers to the Common Core, and, the reality is that states that did not adopt the Common Core, actually, have waivers.  [Laughs]  So, it’s completely not true, but, the doesn’t stop us from saying so.

Bob Wise:    But, I just wanna ‚Äì do wanna get back to Ellin’s point about ‚Äì and Della’s, as well ‚Äì about coming to Congress, after you make your speeches.  I always hated it.

[Laughter]

I came to Washington and –

Ellin Nolan:    And you realized you’d been wrong?

[Laughter]

Bob Wise:    And realized, ‚ÄúMmm.  That speech; it sounded so good on Labor Day.  Not so good when ‚Äì as far as putting into practice.‚Äù  And, there were a few times I had to actually ‚Äì well, there were several times I had to do a painful turnaround.  But, that’s important, too; that members accept that because, when you get to a different vantage point ‚Äì and we’ve got a lot of new folks coming in.  My hope is that ‚Äì not, necessarily, that they come to my point of view ‚Äì but, at least, they’ll be looking to view, ‚ÄúWhy was it, that this was created?‚Äù and, ‚ÄúMaybe there’s more of a reason than what I knew.‚Äù

I know that, what I perceived, as a state legislator was a lot different from what I perceived when I was elected to the Congress.

Della Cronin:    Yeah.  And, some conservatives might find themselves conflicted over what they consider to be an overreach from the federal government, in their fiscal conservativism, because, ‚ÄúAll this money’s out there being spent on assessments and you wanna walk away from that because of a principle view?  Or, do you wanna -?‚Äù

Ellin Nolan:    ‚ÄúOr, do you feel like you’ve wasted that money?‚Äù  Right.

Bob Wise:    It’s also the unfunded mandate issue.  So, Denise from Maryland ‚Äì let’s get back to personalities; that’s always more fun, anyway.

[Laughter]

Denise from Maryland asks, ‚ÄúSo, you talked about ‚Äì on the Democratic side ‚Äì Representative Scott and Senator Murray.  What are their education priorities?‚Äù  And, there was a little reference to that with Senator Murray.

Phillip Lovell:    So, Senator Murray has been a huge champion for education on a number of issues.  She’s, certainly, a huge champion for early childhood education.  She’s, also ‚Äì she really sees the pipeline ‚Äúfrom cradle to college‚Äù being really important.  So, she’s been a huge champion for ‚Äì she was one of the key players involved in the re-authorization of the Workforce Investment Act.  So, she sees the importance in creating college and career pathways for high school students.

She’s been a huge champion for literacy; she’s introduced the LEARN Act and has been one of the primary champions behind the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program.  So, she’s –

Bob Wise:    And, this is literacy efforts ‚Äì not only early childhood ‚Äì but, also, secondary schools.

Phillip Lovell:    Exactly.  Yeah.  So, having a ‚Äì really, a ‚Äúbirth to college,‚Äù ‚Äúcradle to college‚Äù approach.  And, I think, as ‚Äì the question was also asking about Mr. Scott.  And, I think, as Ellin has alluded earlier, Mr. Scott is someone who comes to work, every day, wanting to dismantle this ‚Äúschool to prison‚Äù pipeline.  He sees investments in education as preventing incarceration and sees that the money that we’re spending on prisons as being a complete waste of money, and that if we could put that money into effective programs for kids and putting that money into education that we would see far better outcomes, both, for the individual student and for the community, at large.

He’s introduced the Youth Promise Act, which provided a major investment for communities; to provide more effective pathways for kids.  So ‚Äì yeah.  He’s a ‚Äì I think he’s a huge civil rights advocate and I think we’ll see a lot of that come out in his remarks and his policy, as well.

Ellin Nolan:    One other point, with Senator Harkin stepping down; he has been the single strongest advocate for disability rights, for IDEA ‚Äì for people with disabilities.  And, his absence is gonna be an enormous one ’cause, so far, no one else has stepped up to say they wanna take on that role as the champion for young people and adults with disabilities.  And, I know the disability community is very deeply concerned about that and it’s important that they find a new champion.

Patty Murray also takes on issues regarding homeless children, Indian education; her list is long.  And, more Democrats and Republicans need to ‚Äì everybody supports programs for people with disabilities, but, there’s really nobody else who champions them in the way that Tom Harkin did.

Bob Wise:    And so, what about Senator Alexander; what priorities does he bring?

Ellin Nolan:    Well, he, certainly, cares about ESEA.  He has a lot ‚Äì he cares about all the education programs.  I think, as Phillip said, he’s a legislator, but, he has a different approach.  So, he looks at the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and all of the K-12 education.  And, he’s actually introduced a bill that would block grant all that funding; send it to states and really allow individual states to set their own priorities on what K-12 issues that are most pressing in their state.

Bob Wise:    Which may stem, somewhat, from his time as governor.

Ellin Nolan:    Right!  And, then, in terms of higher ed; he’s introduced a bill with Michael Bennet ‚Äì at least, a concept paper.  I don’t know if it’s actually a bill yet ‚Äì where they totally streamline the higher ed aid to one loan, one grant and work study and eliminate the FAFSA from, maybe, a 40 page document to 3 questions.  So, he’s all about streamlining these programs and giving ‚Äì if it’s an individual college or university, or, a family decision; how they spend federal aid, or, a school district, in terms of how they spend federal funding.

And, he’s a supporter of vouchers and a supporter of charter schools which, certainly, many are on the Hill.

Bob Wise:    So, Ellin, let me ask you ‚Äì we’re getting short on time ‚Äì but, let me ask you; some of the new members ‚Äì anyone coming in with particular priorities about education?

Ellin Nolan:    Washington Partners spent a lot of time reviewing the backgrounds of all the new members of Congress and we were hard-pressed to find anyone who really ‚Äì there were many who, in their education platform, talked about vouchers, talked about Common Core.  If they were, pretty much against the Common Core ‚Äì if they were running as Republicans.  On the Democratic side; they support the Pell grant, support early childhood.  They were in their rhetoric.  But, I’m hard-pressed to name somebody where it was top of mind for them.

Della Cronin:    Well, I have a couple because I knew this question might come up.  Carlos Curbelo, who’s a new Republican from Florida; he served on the Miami-Dade County school board, and, he also served on that state’s Governors’ Education Transition team.  So, that suggests, at least, some familiarity with federal and state education policy issues and how they intersect.

Bob Wise:    Miami-Dade has been a hard-charging district.

Della Cronin:    And, there is also a Republican from Arkansas in the House; his name is Bruce Westerman.  He was a school board member.  And, then, as we spoke about a little bit earlier, there ‚Äì where education played in election rhetoric wasn’t so much at the federal level, and, when it did, it was very vague; it was, ‚ÄúCollege costs are too high.  Student‚Äôs loans have to be affordable for students and families.  Local control is better.‚Äù  Sort of two or three-word phrases without much detail.  So, I think that, as we spoke about earlier, the folks who use those two or three-word phrases on the campaign trail, are now gonna have to come to Washington and figure out, ‚ÄúWhat pieces of policy am I going to need to learn about and change to support what I said on the campaign trail?‚Äù

Bob Wise:    Right.

Ellin Nolan:    Yeah.  We never talk much about the Higher Ed Act, which is, certainly, in the agenda, just as ESEA is and, as Della pointed out, on the campaign trail, talking about the cost of college and other ‚Äì and student loan issues; too much indebtedness for young people ‚Äì was campaign rhetoric that was meant to appeal to middle-class families and to young people ‚Äì to get them to vote.  The fact that they talked about it ‚Äì I think it will be talked about in the Higher Ed Re-Authorization.  Also, there’s talk about redoing tax policy, and, that has implications for paying for college, as well as a focus on the Dodd-Frank bill, which tried to reform the banking industry and the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is looking at the student loan program.

So, I think student loans will be debated, both – in the education committees, but, other committees in Congress, as well.

Bob Wise:    So, it looks like ‚Äì any ‚Äì whirlwind, here, within the next year?  Any major prediction?  What to watch for?

Della Cronin:    Oh.  I’m not sure that ‚Äúmajor‚Äù counts, but, I would say, ESEA makes progress; I think the House will, probably pretty quickly, pass some version of the bill that it passed last summer, and, that the Senate will follow suit.  I think one, sort of, variable in the Senate action is that healthcare was a big part of the election and ‚ÄúH‚Äù stands for ‚ÄúHealth‚Äù in the committee that Senator Alexander chairs.  And, there could be some action on, either, the Medical Device Tax or something, first, that will slow the Senator down a little bit on some of his education priorities.

Phillip Lovell:    In wearing my optimistic hat; in addition to ESEA, I’m also hopeful to see some progress on the re-authorization of the Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.  It has, I think, fewer ‚Äì though, certainly, they’re there ‚Äì but, fewer contentious issues into something that ‚Äì there is bipartisan support.  So, I think the death of it presents an opportunity, but, clearly, ESEA is the priority, and, HEA is a higher priority.  They’re just much more complex.

Ellin Nolan:    Early education is really popular with governors and state legislatures; had some great champions in the President, in George Miller and in Tom Harkin who have both ‚Äì are both leaving the Hill.  So, it’s something to watch for; whether or not that strong interest in early childhood education will be retained ‚Äì if any new members will take up that issue.

Bob Wise:    So, on my end, I’m going to switch back into the more bullish category of Elementary and Secondary Education Act re-authorization.  I’ve been more abundant in my optimism for the last two to three years.  For the first time, I’m actually thinking something could move.  The question is whether it could move ‚Äì whether a House bill can conference with the Senate, but, even more importantly, reach an agreement that the President will sign.  I think he’s probably inclined to wanna sign something, but, I don’t think he’s gonna sign just anything.  So, there and, also, in terms of physical policy, it looks ‚Äì from what you all have said ‚Äì it looks, to me, like, ‚ÄúDon’t look for major gains in education spending.  There may be some‚Äù – I like your term – ‚Äúsome ‘re-allocations’ but, in terms of bottom line, it looks like we’re gonna be where we have been for a while, if we can hold that.‚Äù

But, there is no doubt that it’s gonna be an exciting time and we ‚Äì and, as I do just wanna stress to ‚Äì how important it is to watch the organizing meetings that take place, assuming that the leadership emerges as we’ve said.  If not, we’ll reschedule this in a couple of weeks.

[Laughter]

But, assuming that the leadership changes take place ‚Äì that we have ‚Äì but, then, also, ‚ÄúWho are the committee assignments?  Who chooses to ‘Go’ on education, or, is assigned to education; in both Houses?‚Äù  And, within the leadership, assuming that the majority leader and the ranking member ‚Äì not minority leaders ‚Äì are who we believe they’ll be, in the same leadership teams in the House, how well do they interact?  And so, it’s gonna be interesting; in the next two months, I think will be key for observer, as well as participants and advocates.

So, I’m afraid we’ve run out of time.  This has been ‚Äì I’ve learned a lot; I hope you have ‚Äì an informative discussion.  You probably have observed that this is a fast a fluid discussion taking place because of fast and fluid events in education taking place, both, in Washington and 50 State Houses across the nation.  We had an amazing turnover in both the federal legislative branches, but also, in state legislative branches and in many of the state Houses, with governors.

I wanna thank our wonderful panel and the audience for joining us today.  It has been a pleasure having all of you with us, as we continue to discuss important issues, central to turning around our nation’s schools and improving student learning.  If you’ve missed any of today’s webinar, or, want to share it with your colleagues, archive video will be available tomorrow at www.AllForEd.org/webinars.  We hope you’ll join us for future webinars on these important topics.

Thank you for joining us.  Have a great day.

Categories: Elementary & Secondary Education Act, Federal Education Budget, Federal Education Reform, Federal Legislation
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One Comment

  1. photo
    gmt
    Posted 2 years ago

    This was a useful insight into what was aptly described in the webinar as a highly fluid situation. Extremely helpful as a primer for understanding the political forces and trends in play. Thank you, AEE!

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