Former U.S. Sen. James M. Jeffords, a Republican-turned-Independent from Vermont whose thumbprint is on such landmark education laws as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Higher Education Act, died Aug. 18. He was 80.
Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974, he was involved in education issues from the outset as a member of the education committee.
Mr. Jeffords served in the Senate from 1989 to 2007, and worked on almost every piece of education-related legislation that went through Congress in those years. While still a Republican, he chaired the Senate education committee from 1997 until 2001—the year he declared himself an Independent and joined with Democrats to flip control of the chamber to their party.
A version of this article appeared in the August 27, 2014 edition of Education Week as Obituary