Obama Joins Committee; Top Kennedy Priorities Don't Include NCLB

There's nothing unexpected about Senator Kennedy taking over the education committee, or the return of stalwarts like Dodd, Harkin, Mikulski and my old boss, Jeff Bingaman. But it's interesting to note that not only did Senator Clinton decide to stay on the committee but also that Barack Obama decided to join as well (along with newbies Sanders and Brown). That's a lot of juice for a committee that's normally not been considered to be a lot of fun or very useful to one's career, and an indication that Clinton and Obama want to have a leadership role on social policy issues.

In terms of substance, committee-watchers would do well to note that K12 issues are NOT among the top priorities for newly-reappointed chairman Kennedy. Minimum wage, stem cell research, college affordability, and -- yes -- health care reform -- lead the way. On NCLB, Kennedy says "we’re ready to work with President Bush, as we did five years ago. But given the many failures of implementation by his Administration and the meager commitments to education reform in his budgets, the President has a high hurdle to cross to demonstrate that he is seriously committed to these reforms." Sounds like more of the same to me.

Link: Kennedy on new committee membership and priorities


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