Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12

Betsy DeVos. Donald Trump. The Every Student Succeeds Act. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.


U.S. Rep. Scott To Pursue Top Democratic Slot on Education Committee

By Alyson Klein — February 04, 2014 2 min read

Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia, is throwing his hat in the ring for the “ranking member” (aka top Democratic) slot on the House education committee, beginning in 2015. Right now, that position is held by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., but he’ll be retiring at the end of this year.

Scott’s announcement comes just hours after news broke that Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., will be stepping down from Congress this month to take a job at a Philadelphia law firm. Andrews is facing a House ethics investigation stemming from a potentially improper use of campaign funds. Andrews had told me just last week that he too was interested in the ranking member post.

Andrews is known primarily as a higher education guy, but Scott has a long interest in K-12, with a focus on equity. Back in 2007, for example, he sponsored a bill that would have held states accountable for improving graduation rates, including for poor and minority kids.

More recently, he introduced legislation that would officially authorize (Congress-speak for “create in law”) the Promise Neighborhood program, which helps communities pair K-12 schools with services such as healthcare or arts education. Scott, who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, has an interest in juvenile justice.He has released legislation that would use education, mentoring, and other interventions to help combat gang violence and keep kids out of prison.

Alice Johnson Cain, who served as an aide to Democrats on the House education committee, said Scott can dive down into the policy weeds on wonky issues like graduation-rate calculations. And she said he tends to be more wary of using standardized tests to gauge student progress than Miller has been. (Scott’s favorite line about the No Child Left Behind Act: “You can’t fatten a pig by weighing it.”)

“He’s somewhat skeptical of current accountability and test-based accountability,” said Cain, who now serves as the vice president for policy at Teach Plus, nonprofit organization in Boston that works to empower educators to have a voice in policy. “But I think he’s got the right goals and the right focus, particularly his passion for closing the achievement gap.”

And Alex Nock, another former top aide to House Democrats, who now serves as executive vice president of Penn Hill Group, a government relations organization, said Scott, “is very passionate about the issues in front of the committee.” If he’s tapped for the ranking member slot, “he’ll have to decide what his priorities are.”

Just because Scott is interested in the post doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. He’ll have to get approval from House Democratic leaders to take it over. But he’s a senior member of the committee—the most senior member, in fact, after Andrews and Miller. That should work in his favor.

Scott may not be the only Democrat interested in the gig, however. Reps. John Tierney, of Massachusetts, and Raul Grijalva, of Arizona, are also rumored to be considering a bid for ranking member, although neither has said so publicly.

Scott’s annoucement comes at a time of turnover for the education panel. Miller is leaving, and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the committee’s chairman, may need a waiver from congressional leaders if he wants to stay at the helm of the panel.

Check out Scott’s statement announcing his move here.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

7796 - Director of EAL (K-12) - August '21
Dubai, UAE
GEMS Education
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read