Keeping a promise
Making good on his self-imposed three-term-limit promise, Rep. Frank Riggs, R-Calif., who chairs the House subcommittee on K-12 education, will give up his House seat to run for the Senate this year.
If Mr. Riggs wins California's highly contested GOP primary, he will face Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in November. Ms. Boxer, widely viewed as one of the Senate's most liberal members, has pushed for boosts in federal educational technology funding during her freshman term.
Mr. Riggs recently co-sponsored several pieces of education legislation, including the vocational education reauthorization and a GOP literacy bill with an emphasis on teacher training. The Senate has yet to act on either one.
"Maybe he'll go over and kick it up himself," Mr. Riggs' spokesman, Beau Phillips, said.
Another Republican on the full House Education and the Workforce Committee, Rep. Harris W. Fawell of Illinois, has announced he will retire when his term ends.
When that committee held another in a series of hearings on President Clinton's proposed national tests last week, members focused on how the plan would affect states' standards and assessments.
The chief state school officers from Florida and North Carolina testified on the voluntary tests, which the committee's chairman, Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., has worked hard to kill.
The Feb. 23 hearing took place as Washington was awash in governors attending a meeting of the National Governors' Association.
But just one governor testified: Republican Terry E. Branstad of Iowa, the one state that does not have statewide academic standards or mandated student tests. Most Iowa students do take the commercially available Iowa Tests of Basic Skills.
Gov. Branstad "was there to talk about local control," said Jay Diskey, a spokesman for the committee. "There's probably no state in the union that is stronger on local control than Iowa."
Mr. Diskey said the committee invited other GOP governors, but lost out to NGA-related meetings. The panel did not invite any Democratic governors, he said.
--JOETTA L. SACK & MILLICENT LAWTON