Education Gets Top Billing On Capitol Hill
Career College Central summary:
Lawmakers looking ahead to the November elections are putting renewed focus on education, tackling issues on Capitol Hill this week ranging from expanding charter schools to paying off student loan debt. And, a House committee will examine how higher education and college sports might be affected by a regional National Labor Relations Board ruling allowing Northwestern University football players to unionize.
Voters rank education high among issues of importance to them, and this week’s activities are likely a nod to that. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has made expanding school choice options a priority. Reflecting that enthusiasm, the House as early as Thursday will consider legislation that would provide $300 million annually to expand charter schools. It would consolidate two existing programs, provide state grants to expand and replicate high-quality charter schools and fund the acquisition of buildings for the schools. Charter schools typically use taxpayer dollars but are run by outside organizations.
Even as many Democrats adamantly oppose school vouchers, expanding high-quality charter schools is an area where the two sides have found some common ground. The charter schools bill, for example, has the support of Rep. George Miller, a California lawmaker who is the ranking Democrat on the House education committee. While it appeared to have a strong chance of House passage, its future was uncertain in the Senate.
Student loans, the subject of some contentious debate in 2013, are coming up again in both the House and Senate.
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