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House Second-in-Command: Federal Education Aid Should Follow Children

By Alyson Klein — April 02, 2013 1 min read

Inside-the-Beltway education nerds may have notice a new(ish) voice addressing K-12 issues: U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Republican Majority Leader. For the past several years, Cantor has been associated largely with the conservative wing of his party, and his opposition to President Barack Obama’s agenda. But over the past couple of months, he’s worked to bolster his credentails on education, visiting schools in three different cities: Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Denver.

And he’s given a number of speeches in which education featured prominently, including this one at the American Enterprise Institute,

Cantor has placed a big emphasis on school choice in all of these stops ... and it sounds like he’s interested in working on some sort of legislation or proposal to have federal funding follow children (a voucher). He told me in an interview that he’d like to see “if there’s some way that we could reallocate federal dollars to follow” children, particularly parents of “vulnerable populations” and “special-needs parents.”

If that’s what he’s thinking, he’s got plenty of company among Republicans in Congress. (Check out this blog post, and this one for more.)

And today, Cantor introduced a bill dealing with children’s issues, with a political, and potentially divisive twist. It would increase funding for pediatric autism research—by scrapping public financing for campaigns.

More, including what Cantor thinks about the Obama administration’s No Child Left Behind Act waiver plan, and what Rep. George Miller, the top Democrat on the House education committee, has to say about Cantor’s focus on school choice—and education in general—in this story.